SEC Charges Megachurch Pastor With Fraud
Senior citizens are vulnerable to financial predators who are often the very persons seniors respect and trust the most. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently charged a prominent national pastor and a financial planner with a fraudulent scheme targeting the elderly. According to the SEC charges, the pastor and financial planner bilked seniors out of close to $1 million by selling them defunct Chinese bonds. The pair could face decades in prison and over $1 million in fines.
The San Francisco and California financial elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm Inc. represent financial elder abuse victims against all kinds of abusers including pastors, financial advisors, caregivers, insurance agents, unscrupulous trustees, and persons acting fraudulently under Powers of Attorney. If you or someone you know is suffering from financial elder abuse in San Francisco or elsewhere in California, call us today at 415-441-8669.
Fraudulent Schemes Against Seniors
In this most recent case, the SEC alleges that the pastor and planner promised senior investors that their money would be used to buy and sell historic Chinese bonds, which the two claimed were worth tens of millions of dollars. They also allegedly claimed that the bonds were redeemable for gold or silver and that there was a high demand for such bonds in financial markets. None of these representations were true; the bonds were issued in 1939, before the revolution, went into default decades ago, and were worthless. The SEC alleged that most of the senior investors were “unsophisticated retirees who liquidated their annuities to invest in this scheme.” The pastor and planner then allegedly strung investors along with various excuses as to why they were unable to sell the bonds. In the meantime, the two used the funds collected for their personal expenses. None of the victims have received any returns on the money, according the SEC, and most have not received their principal investment back.
Criminal and Non-Criminal Abuse
While financial elder abuse is often criminal such as in this case, financial elder abuse may also be financial exploitation of a senior that falls short of criminal conduct. For example, an insurance agent or financial advisor may sell a senior insurance policies or annuities resulting in large sales commissions, a trustee or other fiduciary may put their own interests before those of an elder settlor or principal, or an attorney-in-fact operating with a senior’s Power of Attorney may exploit the Power of Attorney for his or her own gain. California law defines financial elder abuse broadly: any “taking” of a senior’s property for a “wrongful use” constitutes financial elder abuse in our State. Anyone who knowingly “assists” in the taking is also an elder abuser under the law. We at Evans Law Firm represent seniors in San Francisco and throughout California who have been the victims of financial exploitation by any kind of actor. We work on financial elder abuse cases every day. Call us at (415)441-8669 when you first suspect a problem.
Remedies and Prevention
If you’re a senior or the loved one of a senior be cautious in all financial matters. Know that anyone could be a potential financial predator. Report financial elder abuse to the authorities when you first suspect but also seek counsel to pursue all available remedies under California law including the mandatory award to you of attorneys’ fees for bringing your case.
Seek the advice of people you trust. Do not share confidences and personal matters with people you do not really know. Do not relinquish authority by a Power of Attorney to anyone unless it’s someone you completely trust. Do not invest without thoroughly understanding the investment and running it by someone who does not stand to gain from your investment. Don’t respond to door-to-door or phone or internet solicitations for money; these are the most recurring types of financial elder abuse. Lastly, if you’re a senior, don’t isolate; let loved ones and longtime friends and professionals help you just as you helped them in your younger years. If you’re the loved one of a senior stay involved and maintain daily contact.
If you or a loved one been the victim of financial elder abuse in San Francisco or elsewhere in California, contact financial elder abuse attorney Ingrid Evans and the other Evans Law Firm financial elder abuse attorneys at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a>. Our attorneys have experience with all types of financial elder abuse, investment and securities fraud and annuity fraud. We can guide your case through a jury trial, through a FINRA arbitration if required when the abuser is a broker or financial advisor, or toward an equitable settlement. We handle cases involving financial elder abuse, qui tam and whistleblower law, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.
 Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the case in any way.