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Virginia Beach Estate Planning Lawyer / Blog / Investment Scams / Investment Scams Increasingly Target Veterans

Investment Scams Increasingly Target Veterans

There is no free lunch.

“There are thousands of ‘free lunch’ seminars that attract large audiences,” Elliot Raphaelson of Tribune Media Services wrote in a story published Dec. 19. “In 2007, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority scrutinized 110 securities firms that presented free lunch seminars. Their report found that 100 percent of them were sales presentations, despite the fact that the majority were advertised as ‘educational.’ The report also indicated that 50 percent of these meetings featured misleading advertising; 23 percent involved possibly unsuitable recommendations; and 13 percent appeared to be fraudulent. If you attend a free lunch seminar, and the products offered seems too good to be true, they probably are. For years, AARP has warned about ‘veterans’ advocates’ who in fact are unscrupulous investment advisers interested only in generating commissions for themselves.

Investment Scams Increasingly Target Veterans“According to AARP, scams targeting veterans are increasing across the country.”

“At community centers, nursing homes and assisted living facilities, their spiel to older veterans goes something like this: We can get you instant eligibility for additional benefits through a quick overhaul of your investments,” Sid Kirchheimer wrote in October 2010 AARP Bulletin. “These self-described ‘veterans advocates’ are in fact unscrupulous investment advisers. The usual pitch involves getting a veteran to transfer retirement assets into an irrevocable trust so that the family appears to be impoverished. This helps it meet eligibility requirements for a VA pension and related programs such as Aid and Attendance, which pays an additional benefit to veterans who need assistance with everyday living.”

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with irrevocable trusts for older veterans; they can and do work quite well. The problem is with the annuities unscrupulous financial planners can sell with them.

The wisest course in setting up a trust is to consult with a VA-accredited elder law attorney.

Investment dodges of any kind are disgraceful, but those aimed at this segment of the population are all the more so.

“Veteran scams, targeting a group of people who provide such a valuable and selfless service to their country, have to be one of the most despicable crimes,” according to the website scambusters. “Not only do the crooks have our vets in their sights but they also abuse their reputation by pulling off con tricks in their names. They trade on other people’s patriotism and gratitude to make money that really belongs in the pockets of vets.”

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