Investment issues that lead to negligence or fraud cases that involve investment negligence claims our lawyers handle include:
Mutual funds. Mutual funds can be sold to the general public, and as such must be registered with the SEC. They are less predictable than some other purchases, so they should be overseen by a board of directors or trustees, and should be managed by registered investment advisors.
Closed end funds (CEF). CEFs are collective investments in which a fixed number of shares are issued but are not redeemable. The shares can be bought and sold, but the broker receives a fee or commission for each purchase or sale. Brokers “push” them, many times improperly, because the broker makes a fee for each transaction.
Private Placement Investments.These investments, also known as private equity investments or private offerings, are not usually registered with the SEC, which means little public information about them is available. While they can have large returns, they are often high risk and unsuitable for most investors. They include:
Master Limited Partnership (MLP). MLPs are common, publicly-traded investments in the energy and natural resource sector. Our attorneys investigate brokers and brokerage firms who recommended MLPs when other investments would have been more suitable (such as the volatility of the oil and gas industry, for example).
Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).Generally, the publicly traded REITs are much better investments than privately held REITS (called non-traded REITs), which broker-dealers sell. While non-traded REITs are available securities, because they are registered with the SEC they often underperform due to the up-front charges investor need to pay. Non-traded REITs may also underperform because of conflicts of interest that rarely exist with publicly traded REITs.
Buying On Margin. Firms frequently will lend their clients money so the client is able to buy more securities from them. This not only increases the commissions paid to the firm, but it also makes the firm money in the form of interest. The real risk in using margin or loans to buy more securities is that it increases the leverage in the client’s positions. That is to say, it increases the downside risk because losses will be increased due to the larger position held by the client and due to the underlying debt used to buy more of the security.
Variable Annuity Fraud. Often sold to seniors as an investment which can protect them from asset seizures, variable annuities are high-risk products that are rarely suitable for most investors. FINRA itself says that “Sales pitches for these products might attempt to scare or confuse investors.”
Were You or Your Elderly Relative Taken Advantage Of? Act Now.
It is an unfortunate truth that the elderly are often the target of financial scams or undue influence by those who care for them. Exploitation can come in many forms, whether by convincing an elderly person to make poor investment decisions with his or her retirement savings or by manipulating him or her into changing a will or trust into a particular person's favor. If you suspect that your elderly parent, relative or friend is being taken advantage of, you want a strong advocate with the expertise to help you protect them. Attorney Glenn Mazer has years of experience advising retirees, beneficiaries and other individuals in ALABAMA and across the United States. He will listen to your concerns and take proactive steps to protect your loved one's rights and assets from any further elder abuse and exploitation.
Fraudsters tend to "go where the money is," which often means targeting older Americans who are nearing or already in retirement. Additionally, older investors are less likely to research investments or check the background of investment professionals or brokers, a fact many con-artists are well aware of.
It is important for family members and friends to be aware of common tactics scammers useto take advantage of the elderly, as well as to watch for tell-tale warning signs of exploitation so they can protect their loved ones.
Common Forms of Elder Exploitation:
Many elderly persons suffer from dementia or become easily confused by complex details. They may be lonely or dependent upon another person for their care. Perhaps their case involves a combination of these factors. Whatever the issues, these factors can easily leave your loved one vulnerable to manipulation by trusted caregivers or scam artists.
Some of the most common forms of elder exploitation include:
• Maintaining undue influence over an elderly person so that he or she changes a will or trust so that it benefits mostly one person, usually a close relative or caregiver
• Convincing an elderly person to give control of trusts, assets or financial decision-making to a particular party who may or may not have the elder's best interests at heart.
• Making investments on an elder's behalf that may not be suitable to their situation or unnecessarily risky.
• Preying on the elderly's misunderstanding of risky investments or legal documents such that they sign away assets or rights to make decisions or control assets.
• Selling fraudulent investments to the elderly using deceptive securities practices.
Attorney Glenn Mazer can help you understand your options to put a stop to any of the above abuses.
If your loved one has already passed on, consider hiring an experienced advocate in all aspects of probate and trust litigation, protecting your right to inherit assets lost through deceptive means.
Brokers and investment firms that fail to exercise their fiduciary duties, fail to supervise their brokers, and fail to recommend suitable claims can and should be sued for negligence or fraud. Other legal claims may also apply. Get help for investment losses by speaking with an experienced investment fraud lawyer at Mazer Law Firm PC.
Investors rely on their brokers and brokerage firm advisors to understand each type of investment and to recommend investments for the investor’s needs – given their age, risk tolerance, income, and other factors. The attorneys at Mazer Law Firm bring securities arbitration claims and applicable court cases when stockbrokers and brokerage firms fail to adequately inform and advise their clients. To speak with a lawyer now, call us at 205-907-9570.
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