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Beware of Annuity Exchanges!

Beware of Annuity Exchanges

by Scott Starr Annuities are some of the highest commission products available for an insurance agent or a stockbroker to sell.  Many times, annuities are more beneficial for the salesman than they are for the client.  That is because in addition to the hefty commissions the stockbroker or insurance agent earns for selling these investments, the annuities themselves frequently have very high expense ratios which come off the top before an owner receives any benefit.  Furthermore, annuities are typically extremely illiquid meaning that they are very difficult to get out of or cash in without paying a hefty penalty.  Because of...

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Stock Fraudsters Prey on the Retired

Starr Austen & Miller has represented over 1,400 investors who have lost their hard earned savings to bad brokers and investment fraud.  Almost always the victim is an elderly person or someone nearing retirement who is defrauded of all or nearly all of their retirement savings. The following story is a reprint from Law360.com, an article authored by Hayley Fowler, that summarizes a similar case. Bad stock brokers and bad investment advisors will quote high returns while touting the “safety” of the investment they are pushing.  This pitch is especially attractive to retired folks who are worried about stretching their retirement earnings...

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10th Circ. Sides With DOL In Row Over New Fiduciary Rule

By Dave Simpson of Law360.com A Tenth Circuit panel Tuesday affirmed a decision upholding the U.S. Department of Labor's new fiduciary rule for retirement account advisers related to fixed indexed annuity sales, agreeing with the lower court that the rule’s critics were given an opportunity to comment on it. The panel agreed with a Kansas federal judge's opinion that the DOL didn't overstep its authority in enacting the rule, which aims to combat conflicts of interest for financial advisers. (Law360) In a unanimous published decision penned by U.S. Circuit Judge Paul Joseph Kelly Jr., the panel agreed with a Kansas federal judge’s opinion that the...

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Adviser admits defrauding former [Indianapolis] Colt of $4.7M

“Anyone can be the victim of securities fraud. See the Indianapolis Business Journal article below. If you or a loved one has been victimized by a bad broker or bad investment advisor, contact Starr Austen & Miller for a free consultation.” - Scott Starr By: Greg Andrews of the Indianapolis Business Journal Cory Redding, a defensive end for the Colts from 2012 to 2014, was referred to financial adviser Kenneth Ray Cleveland by a business professor at Redding’s alma mater, the University of Texas. (AP photo) It might be little consolation to former Indianapolis Colt Cory Redding—the latest in a long line of...

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Pastor, Partner Must Pay $9M To Settle Fraud Allegations

By: Dean Seal of Law360.com A Florida federal judge on Monday ordered a fund run entirely by a North Carolina man and a convicted pastor-turned-fraudster to pay $9 million to settle claims it duped Florida churchgoers and their associates out of $2 million. The settlement with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission resolves claims against the corporate entity Maverick International Inc., its sole officer Edward Rubin and Wesley A. Brown, the two men accused of soliciting investors into a pooled fund that they then entirely embezzled. U.S. District Judge Brian J. Davis ordered $2,151,318.73 in restitution along with $6.8 million in civil monetary penalties. “Upon...

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Indiana woman indicted in ‘largest coordinated sweep’ of elder fraud cases in history

Indiana woman indicted in 'largest coordinated sweep' of elder fraud cases in history

By: Jordan Fischer of TheIndyChannel.com A Morgan County woman was charged in federal court Wednesday as part of what the Department of Justice is calling the “largest coordinated sweep of elder fraud cases in history.” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was joined Thursday by state and federal officials to announce charges against more than 250 people around the globe for their alleged roles in fraudulent schemes targeting the elderly. The DOJ said those schemes involved mass mailings, telemarketing and investment frauds to individual instances of identity theft and theft by guardians. The agency also said it had identified “transnational criminal organizations” involved in defrauding “hundreds of thousands...

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New rules look to help elderly fraud victims

New rules look to help elderly fraud victims

By Nick McGill of Fox59.com Advocates for the elderly are calling new rules designed to help protect the elderly from fraud a “step in the right direction.” Starting Monday, brokers can place temporary holds on accounts of elderly clients who may have been victims of financial exploitation, thanks to new rules by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. “If we’re finding ways for these different people in different positions to be able to respond when they have legitimate reasonable concerns, that’s wonderful, because we’re going to have to find ways as a society to help protect those vulnerable elders,” said Ken Bennett with the...

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Judge orders ex-CEO to pay nearly $850K in Veros Ponzi scheme

Judge orders ex-CEO to pay nearly $850K in Veros Ponzi scheme

By Dave Stafford / The Indiana Lawyer A former finance company chief with a history of securities law violations has been ordered to pay almost $850,000 in connection with the sale of securities based on farm loans. Former Pin Financial LLC chief executive Tobin Senefeld of Indianapolis was ordered Tuesday to pay a total of $843,356 in a lawsuit the Securities and Exchange Commission filed against him, his firm and Veros Farm Loan Holding LLC. The SEC said defendants violated securities laws in a Ponzi scheme. Rather than funding current farming operations, as investors were told, proceeds of the securities were used to cover farms’...

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SEC Accuses Accounting Firm Of Fraud Over Microcap Audits

By Jon Hill of Law360.com The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday accused a California-based public accounting firm and a number of its current and former partners of doing flawed audit work for an energy services holding company and two other penny-stock company clients that have themselves been accused of fraud by the agency. The SEC said it has initiated proceedings against Anton & Chia LLP, alleging that some of its conduct in connection with audits and reviews for Premier Holding Corp., Accelera Innovations Inc. and CannaVEST Corp. was fraudulent. Anton & Chia co-owners Gregory A. Wahl and Georgia Chung, its former audit partner...

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Top Investor Threats Revealed

Top investor threats revealed

By The Herald-Tribune Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson has released the annual list of top investor threats and reminded Hoosiers to use caution when approached with any unsolicited investment opportunities. The top threats were determined by surveying members of the North American Securities Administrators Association, of which the Indiana Secretary of State’s office is a member, to identify the most frequently identified source of current investor complaints or investigations. The following were cited most often: Promissory notes– A promissory note is a written promise to pay (or repay) a specified sum of money at a stated time in the future...

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