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Jul 6, 2022 by |

San Francisco Financial Elder Abuse Attorneys: Guilty Pleas To Fraud Charges Related To Investment Scheme On Elderly Investors

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

High-Yield Investment Fraud Targeted Elderly

Multi-Million Dollar Scheme Allegedly Ran or Six Years

Individuals Plead Guilty To Multiple Charges

Financial elder abuse may be limited to isolated transactions exploiting specific older individuals, but larger fraudulent and abusive schemes may be perpetrated on numerous elderly victims.  Seniors are often targets of unsuitable or risky ventures promising high returns or outright Ponzi schemes, where money collected from new investors is used to pay existing investors, and there really is no actual investment of funds at all.  Promoters of such schemes often target the elderly who are concerned about having enough money to live on after retirement particularly in light of low bank returns coupled with increasing health care costs.  Such schemes may violate State and federal securities laws and, when the victims are seniors, also constitute financial elder abuse.  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 San Francisco 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).

Guilty Pleas In Case Involving Fraudulent Scheme Targeting Elderly[1] 

According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the former chief financial office and another individual connected with a minerals-infused water bottler pleaded guilty to multiple charges  for running a multimillion-dollar, high-yield investment fraud scheme that targeted elderly victims. According to court documents, the individuals conspired to and obtained investor funds through a scheme to defraud. The DOJ alleges that beginning in or about 2013 and continuing through or about May 2019, the individuals participated in a fraudulent scheme to convince individuals in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada to invest in the company under the false pretense that their investment would increase substantially in value in the immediate future. In connection with the scheme, the co-conspirators allegedly made materially false and fraudulent misrepresentations to investors that the majority of investor funds would be used to support company operations. In fact, according to the DOJ, the funds were used to pay undisclosed, excessive commissions to company owners and other insiders.

In addition, according to court documents, the government alleges that even after it had frozen the company’s bank accounts were frozen, two individuals to fraudulently direct the company’s payroll processor to continue to pay their paychecks even though the company’s operations had ceased, and it had insufficient funds to cover payroll.   One of the individuals also allegedly submitted a fraudulent mortgage loan application using pay stubs fraudulently obtained from the payroll processor.

Warning Signs Of Fraudulent Schemes

Here are some of the classic “red flags” of fraudulent schemes like the one involved in the reported case:

  • High returns with little or no risk.  Be especially suspicious of any “guaranteed” investment opportunity like the promise allegedly made in the reported case.
  • Overly consistent 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.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a  fraudulent investment or Ponzi scheme or other form of financial elder abuse in San Francisco or elsewhere in California contact Ingrid M. Evans at Evans Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:info@evanslaw.com”>info@evanslaw.com</a>. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267). 

[1] Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the case in any way.

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