Do you think you've been scammed or defrauded? Investment products can be very complex and it is often difficult for investors who have suffered losses to figure out what happened, and where their money went. Our legal team can help you sort through the paperwork and determine whether you have been the victim of financial fraud, and, if so, discuss ways we can help you recover your losses. Not all losses are recoverable unfortunately.
There are a number of investment schemes that are currently targeting members of our community:
1. Unregistered products/unlicensed salesmen: The offer of securities by an individual without a valid securities license should be a red alert for investors. Securities licenses should be verified on FINRA's BrokerCheck website. Many fraudsters try to bypass stringent licensing and registration requirements to pitch unregistered investments with a promise of low risk and high returns. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true - it probably is.
2. Promissory Notes: In an environment of low interest rates, the promise of high-interest-bearing promissory notes may be tempting to investors, especially seniors and others living on a fixed income. Promissory notes generally are used by companies to raise capital. Legitimate promissory notes are marketed almost exclusively to sophisticated or corporate investors with the resources to research thoroughly the companies issuing the notes and to determine whether the issuers have the capacity to pay the promised interest and principal. Most promissory notes must be registered as securities with the SEC and the states in which they are sold. Average investors should be cautious about offers of promissory notes with a duration of nine months or less, which in some circumstances do not require registration. Short-term notes that appear to be exempt from securities registration have been the source of most – but not all – of the fraudulent activity involving promissory notes identified by regulators.
4. Real Estate-related Investments: Troublesome real estate-related investments identified by securities regulators included non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), timeshare resales, and brokered mortgage notes. These types of products often carry higher risk. For example, non-traded REITs are sold directly to investors and are not traded on exchanges (as are conventional REITs). Non-traded REITS can be risky and have limited liquidity, which may make them unsuitable for certain investors.
5. Ponzi Schemes: The premise is simple: pay early investors with money raised from later investors. The only people certain to make money are the promoters who set the Ponzi in motion.