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Prepare for the Unexpected: Your Succession Planning Portfolio

You may dream of someday passing down your family farm and your legacy to the next generation, but are you taking the necessary steps to prepare for that handoff? When it comes to successful succession planning, you do need more than a will – there are other important documents you must consider and open, ongoing communication is a must. According to attorney Polly Dobbs, "This process doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Farmers should begin by asking themselves: ‘What if I get hit by a bus?’ Then draft your succession plan like that life­-changing event is going to happen tomorrow. The hard work...

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Accounting Firm Agrees to Settlement in Ponzi Fraud Case

Indianapolis-based accounting firm DeWitt & Shrader PC agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by a receiver appointed for Samex Capital Partners, LLC involving the way it provided services for convicted Ponzi schemer Keenan Hauke. The suit alleged that DeWitt & Shrader violated the Indiana Securities Act and committed negligence and fraud, as well as breach of contract, by failing to monitor Hauke’s bank accounts. A prominent money manager, Hauke led the hedge fund Samex Capital Partners LLC. In December 2011, Hauke was sentenced to 10 years in prison for securities fraud and ordered to pay $7.1 million in restitution. Hauke concealed losses, estimated...

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Scott Starr Recognized as “Leader in Litigation” by Wilson, Kehoe & Winingham

Scott Starr was recently featured in the “Leader in Litigation” series by Wilson, Kehoe & Winingham, a well-known law firm that recognizes some of Indiana’s most interesting and accomplished lawyers. The article introduces you to one of Scott’s favorite former clients, a librarian known as “Jean” who invested in a small startup company that developed the patent for Claritin® - Jean became a multi-millionaire who unfortunately discovered just how devastating securities fraud can be. She came to Starr for help and today, remains a close friend. You’ll also learn about ‘the case that made history’ for Starr - the biggest class-action suit...

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CPAs on the Lookout for Securities Fraud

CPAs should be on the front line alerting their clients to securities fraud much more frequently than they presently do. Why do I say that? Because CPAs meet with their clients each year to prepare taxes and the common “client questionnaire” or “client organizer” which accountants routinely send to clients to fill out for tax preparation purposes ask the client if they have experienced any investment losses during the last year. The answer to this question serves as the perfect springboard for a discussion about these issues. Securities and investment fraud is more rampant than ever. Ponzi schemes, the sale of...

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Starr Austen & Miller Files Suit Against Companies Responsible For Fungal Meningitis Outbreak

Mark S. Fryman, of the Indiana law firm of Starr Austen & Miller, LLP, announced today that the firm, along with the firm of McNeely Stephenson Thopy & Harrold, have commenced a lawsuit against New England Compounding Pharmacy, Inc., d/b/a New England Compounding Center (“NECC”), and two of its closely related companies, as well as these companies officers, in regard to the recent multi-state fungal meningitis outbreak, linked to tainted vials of a contaminated steroid injection which has harmed Plaintiff, Natalie S. Copass. The case is entitled “Natalie S. Copass v. New England Compounding Pharmacy, Inc. d/b/a New England Compounding...

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401(k) Plan Sponsors Not Jumping Onboard With New Longevity Annuities

The Department of the Treasury and the Department of Labor have proposed new regulations focused on providing 401(k) plan participants more choices to invest in annuities that guarantee a stream of lifetime income. However the proposals aren’t enough to persuade plan sponsors to offer such "longevity annuities," experts contend. These annuity products give people the option to defer up to 25 percent of their account balances into an annuity that starts paying out further into retirement, such as age 80 or 85. A recent Aon Hewitt survey reported only 16 percent of plan sponsors offer such a choice. Martha Tejera, a...

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State And Local Governments Get New Securities Protection

State and local governments issuing bonds will now receive more information regarding the risks involved with complex financial transactions along with potential conflicts of interest from municipal securities underwriters. The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) has set down new regulations for underwriters designed to make sure state and local governments have the necessary information to make good decisions with securities transactions. Underwriters for negotiated offerings of municipal securities must now disclose to clients that are state and local governments the risks of complex financial transactions, along with potential conflicts of interest and compensation received from third-party derivatives and investments providers. The new rules,...

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Court Case Helps Stall SEC Move to Increase Fiduciary Standard for Stockbrokers

Court Case Helps Stall SEC Move to Increase Fiduciary Standard for Stockbrokers The push to make stockbrokers adhere to same fiduciary standard as financial advisers has been held up by court and broker challenges. Consumer advocates wanting to hold stockbrokers to the same client-first standard of care as investment advisers appeared to be successful last summer after a study by the Securities and Exchange Commission called for new rules along those lines. Stockbrokers, however, objected, saying providing advice was just one part of their business model and that they shouldn’t have the same degree of accountability for the client’s best interest in...

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Truck and Bus Drivers Can’t Use Hand Held Cell Phones While Driving

On Jan. 3, 2012, a final rule took effect from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration that banned the use of hand-held cell phones by commercial motor vehicle drivers on interstates. The ban, which covers both truck and bus drivers, will cover about four million CMV drivers, according to FMCSA.  The ban is “a giant leap for safety,” said Anne Ferro, FMCSA administrator. “It’s just too dangerous for drivers to use a hand-held cell phone while operating a commercial vehicle.” The rule’s enforcement creates penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense, and drivers...

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Expert Testimony Of Psychologists Regarding Cause Of Brain Injuries

Truck Accident Attorneys In Indiana Given Guidance About Expert Testimony Of Psychologists Regarding Cause Of Brain Injuries Being in an accident with a truck is not like being in an accident involving a passenger vehicle, as many truck accident attorneys in Indiana are well aware. Not only are there specific rules and regulations regarding over-the-road trucks and their drivers, but often the injuries sustained in such accidents are much more severe, due to the massive size and weight of the vehicles involved. An example of such a case is the recent Indiana Supreme Court case of Bennett v. Richmond, decided on January...

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