by Brian Mahany
Unfortunately, there is a great deal of job security for asset recovery lawyers. Fraud has always been with us but in recent years, the size and number of frauds have reached all-time highs and with no end in sight. Just look at Bernie Madoff and the Ponzi schemes orchestrated in Washington D.C., fraud is everywhere. The question is why?
In a word, the reason is “GREED.” Such an answer is overly simplistic, however.
We live in a society where everyone wants a lot of money, they want it now and they don’t want to work hard to get it. Greed is certainly behind most of the financial frauds and scams found in our society today. It is almost always the primary motive of the fraudsters and criminals and often the motive of the victim. While not every victim is greedy, many were lured into losing all their money by promises of astronomical rates of return or promises of “guaranteed returns.”
As a society, there is now an entire generation that has been exposed to those who expect hand outs from the government, “hand me down” money from family or are simply willing to lie, cheat and steal to get what they want. From unemployed kids to politicians to investment bankers, many expect instant gratification with very little work.
Once we looked up to our elected officials in Washington. Lawyers were the defenders of our freedom and the rule of law and business icons on Wall Street were heroes and something we could aspire to be. Now, we see more and more of them doing the “perp walk” on the nightly news.
For the immediate future, there is a need for people willing to combat those who would rob our society, rob future generations and steal from our clients, friends and neighbors.
We can and will continue the fight against financial fraud wherever we find it. But as a society, we need to be more vigilant to protect ourselves. While not every fraud is easy to ferret out, there are classic warning signs that should always be heeded.
The first, obviously, is that if seems to good to be true it probably is. We are aware of one victim, a vice president of one of the largest banks in the United States, who lost much of her future retirement savings in an investment that offered a 100% return in just 30 days. That’s right, an investment that promised to double her money in just one month.
Another warning sign is an investment that claims to be no risk or to “guarantee” the safety of your money.
Promoters that claim special inside information or secret formulas are also usually frauds. Trading on inside information is usually a crime and there are few secrets left in the investment world. Assuming the info you are being offered really is “secret,” why is it being offered to you?
Finally, be wary of things you don’t understand. The feds and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority have been cracking down on stockbrokers selling complex derivatives. Many of the supposed financial professionals don’t even understand these types of securities. If they don’t understand them, how could you ever be expected to understand?
The fraud recovery lawyers at Mahany & Ertl are here to help you get back your hard earned money. Unfortunately, no matter what I say in this blog, new victims will emerge every day. Before you lose your life savings, contact a financial professional to help you evaluate any new investments. A few hundred bucks in due diligence efforts may save you our life savings. Better yet, learn to just say “no” when things appear to good to be true.
Mahany & Ertl – America’s Fraud Lawyers. Offices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Detroit, Michigan; Portland, Maine & San Francisco, California. Services nationwide.