Defendant Allegedly Ran Scheme For Ten Years
$32 Million In Losses To Elderly Investors
Charges Of Financial Elder Abuse, Forgeries, And Theft
Financial elder abuse can be limited to isolated transactions exploiting the elderly or can be a largescale fraud striking numerous elderly victims. Seniors are often targets of Ponzi schemes, where money collected from new investors is used to pay existing investors, and there really is no actual investment of funds. Such schemes violate securities laws and, when the victims are seniors, also constitute financial elder abuse and may involve other crimes. See Penal Code § 368 and Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30 (definition of financial elder abuse). Evans Law Firm, Inc. can represent you if you lose money in a Ponzi scheme or any other type of securities fraud or financial elder abuse here in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California. If you have, call our lawyers today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
Recent Sentencing In Ponzi Scheme Case Involving Christian Radio Host
A Christian radio host was recently sentenced to three life sentences after pleading guilty to running an elaborate Ponzi scheme that defrauded several elderly listeners out of millions of dollars. In addition to the three life sentences, the sentencing judge also sentenced the defendant to another 10 years each for three additional charges, including one charge of forgery against the elderly, and two charges of exploitation of the elderly. According to a statement from the District Attorney’s Elder Financial Fraud team, the defendant amassed $32 million in losses to his elderly clients by means of a 10-year scheme he ran on Christian radio, to convince elderly religious folk to invest with his company. Authorities say he bilked elderly people out of their retirement savings, targeting middle-class people mostly in their 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, who were looking for a stable retirement funds. Instead, the defendant allegedly deposited his investors’ funds into a single account which he then used to pay out earlier investors. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said the defendant exhausted “virtually all investor funds,” and used “significant portions” of the funds for personal and company expenses, as well as making Ponzi payments to his investors. In order to hide the fraud, the SEC charged that the defendant created false account statements that displayed incorrect balances. During his sentencing hearing, more than a dozen elderly victims testified against him, describing in detail how they lost anywhere from $50,000 to $600,000. Some had to sell their homes or take on part-time jobs as a result of the fraud, according to the district attorney’s office.
Watch Out For “Red Flags” Of Ponzi Schemes
Here are some of the classic “red flags” of Ponzi schemes like the one involved in the reported case:
- High returns with little or no risk. Be especially suspicious of any “guaranteed” investment opportunity.
- Overly consistent/guaranteed returns. Investments tend to go up and down over time. Be skeptical about an investment that regularly generates positive returns regardless of overall market conditions.
- Unregistered investments. Ponzi schemes typically involve investments that are not registered with the SEC or with state regulators. Registration is important because it provides investors with access to information about the company’s management, products, services, and finances.
- Unlicensed sellers. Federal and state securities laws require investment professionals and firms to be licensed or registered. Most Ponzi schemes involve unlicensed individuals or unregistered firms.
- Issues with paperwork. Account statement errors may be a sign that funds are not being invested as promised.
- Difficulty receiving payments. Be suspicious if you don’t receive a payment or have difficulty cashing out. Ponzi scheme promoters sometimes try to prevent participants from cashing out by offering even higher returns for staying put.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a Ponzi scheme or other form of financial elder abuse in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California contact Ingrid M. Evans at Evans Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a>. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
 Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the case in any way.