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Elderly are favorite target of deceitful investment advisors;
Relatives and friends cautioned to be vigilant
Attorney Dev Modi cites tax season as ideal time for
family members to review seniors’ financial affairs
FLORHAM PARK, NJ (March 21, 2013) — The elderly are frequent targets for the most devious schemes of swindlers, and rogue investment advisors are particularly treacherous. Luckily, the annual advent of tax season presents a golden opportunity to analyze investments and financial relationships, with an eye toward ensuring no questionable activity is in the works.
“Because senior citizens are often viewed as ‘easy marks’ by those who’d separate them from their money, it’s important that anyone keeping an eye on an elderly person’s affairs remain observant,” explains Devanshu L. Modi, Esq., of the Florham Park, NJ-based law firm Lyon, Glassman, Leites & Modi, LLC. “In terms of timing, when people prepare their own tax returns, it’s wise for them to also double-check on how the finances of parents or in-laws are being managed. Illegal or simply negligent activity can often be revealed through a basic assessment of tax information and related records.”
Modi — whose practice centers on representing individuals victimized by unlawful investment practices — cites the following as red flags related to an older individual being in the sights of a financial advisor with malicious intent:
- The danger of complexity and double-talk. If an elderly person is participating in a complicated investment program — particularly one that even younger family or friends cannot understand — that’s clear cause for a closer look. One of the most common tactics of those seeking to take financial advantage of seniors is utilizing confusing jargon and outright double-talk.
- Pressure to sign. If an older person’s signature is required on one or more documents before a financial advisor can move forward with a transaction, it’s always a good idea for a younger relative or friend to review the paperwork in question. Any degree of pressure applied to a senior related to providing signatures immediately, before an appropriate review, is worrisome.
- A financial services professional who’s getting ‘too close.’ For the most part, meetings should occur in an office or home, and calls may be periodic. The advisor who’s regularly taking an elderly relative to lunch or dinner, and perhaps phones them constantly, may well be crossing a line. A key sign of possible trouble is when the subject of a will or inheritance regularly enters the conversation.
- A suitable paper trail. If a financial professional is actively managing an older person’s portfolio or investments, regular statements should arrive in the mail. A dearth of statements, which makes tracking exactly what’s happening with a senior’s funds far more difficult, is cause for concern. Also, it’s important that an older relative recall having been consulted on any transactions listed within a statement. If they cannot, it could be an indicator that something is amiss.
“Older people routinely rely on younger relatives or friends for a helping hand,” Modi adds. “There’s no reason they shouldn’t also get some support with keeping their financial house in order. It’s just good, common sense.”
Modi recommends that anyone concerned about possible cheating by an investment advisor or accountant should consult with an experienced securities arbitration attorney to explore their options.
About Devanshu L. Modi, Esq.
A member and co-founder, in 2003, of the Florham Park, NJ-based law firm Lyon, Glassman, Leites & Modi LLC, Devanshu L. Modi’s primary focus is representing those who’ve sustained financial harm via negligent investment practices; other practice areas include business law, estate planning, and real estate.
Prior to the establishment of his firm, Modi was a deputy attorney general in the Division of Law at the New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety, and also has professional experience as an investigator for the New Jersey Bureau of Securities. He’s a member of the State of New Jersey bar, the United States District Court of New Jersey bar, and the State of New York bar. He earned his law degree from the Seton Hall University School of Law.
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