If you are the victim of a ponzi scheme, you need to consult with an attorney who is well-versed in investor disputes and legal claims. He or she should be familiar with some of the issues that may emerge when investing in companies, real estate, or securities.
One of the most important steps to take is to hire a ponzi scheme attorney immediately. Learn more about what a Ponzi scheme is and the steps to take if you feel like you’ve been involved in one.
How a Ponzi Scheme Works
You probably have heard that some investments sound too good to be true. A Ponzi scheme is one of these investments. This fraudulent investment strategy is designed to pay the initial investors with the money the organizer receives from new members.
Therefore the overseers of the scheme do not invest the members’ money. Instead, they fool the investors who formerly paid them by allocating some of the money from new members and keeping part of the cash for themselves.
Ponzi is an eponym, referring to a fraudster, Charles Ponzi who bilked investors in the 1920s by telling them they’d receive a sizable return for discounted postal reply coupons bought in other countries.
Depending on the amount they invested, the investors were promised a 50% or 100% return on the coupons when redeemed in the U.S. for their stated amount. However, Ponzi only paid proceeds to the first investors from the money he received from newly signed members.
Why You Need to Speak to a Ponzi Scheme Lawyer
After you contact a Ponzi scheme attorney, you will gain further insight about how you were misled and what you need to do to make things right. People involved in a Ponzi legal claim share some of the same experiences.
Ponzi Scam Red Flags
The following red flags will alert you to this type of scam.
- The investment company offers a low-risk, high return on the money you invest with a guaranteed ROI. Most investments involve certain degrees of risk, especially investments with higher returns. Therefore, you need to suspect the motives of a business that provides this type of promise.
- Receiving regular returns is also suspicious. Most investments have their bull and bear periods, or times they go up or down. Any investment that generates regular positive returns that do not reflect market activities is not legitimate.
- The investment advisor is not licensed or the firm is not registered with the SEC or a state regulatory agency. It is mandatory that firms and individuals are registered or licensed when selling securities.
- The investment is confusing to grasp or the investor is not given complete details about the financial vehicle or service.
- Payments are difficult to cash out or the advisor promises even higher returns to investors who remain in the program
How Ponzi Scammers Target Victims
Ponzi fraud victims frequently are profiled as high-risk investors, people who invest in promissory notes, private investment opportunities, or penny stocks. They often do not perform due diligence before making an investment. They may not review the promoter’s background or the story behind the investment. Some victims do not realize they are being tricked, as they do not notice the instigator’s tactics.
For example, some fraudsters establish a reputation of credibility by involving themselves with entities or individuals with special endorsements in the investment or financial field. Others present themselves as successful enterprises by saying that other investors have already contributed money to their investment offering.
Some scammers state they will discount the investor if they invest a portion of their money to the investment plan. Yet other fraudsters like to create a feeling of urgency, stating that the investment is only offered for a limited period.
Understanding the tricks used by fraudsters and talking to an attorney will help you turn things around and give you the leverage you need to receive just compensation and avoid a future investment issue.
How to Get Legal Help and What You Should Do to Get Started
If you have experienced any of the above difficulties or you realize you have been duped, you need to speak with a Ponzi scheme lawyer as soon as possible. To begin the process, you should follow the steps below.
1. Don’t Discuss the Situation with Your Brokerage Firm or Broker
You should only discuss your situation and suspicions with a lawyer. Don’t raise a complaint with your stock broker or brokerage firm . If the brokerage company is negligent, it may use what you tell them to create a defense. While you may feel upset, you need to speak to legal counsel instead.
2. Collect the Records and Paperwork for Your Case
Don’t procrastinate if you suspect you have been the victim of a fraudulent investment scheme. Collect the information you will need to support your claim. This information includes statements, contracts, and correspondence between you and the brokerage company. If the correspondence involves emails, you need to make a printout of the digital communications. Also gather any related notes for your attorney’s review.
3. Obtain Legal Representation So You Can Seek Financial Recovery
While you can contact regulators in the securities industry or tell law enforcement about your situation, you still need to speak to an investment fraud lawyer to optimize the chance for a financial recovery. By using the services of someone who handles investment fraud, you can seek a resolution more quickly.
Not only will your lawyer advise you about your rights, other legal agencies will be involved in the case as well. These agencies may include:
- The Federal trade Commission or FTC
- The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
- Federal and state lawyers
- Investigative organizations
- The FBI
4. How Lawsuits are Filed
Unfortunately, in most cases involving a Ponzi scheme, you will find it difficult to get your money back from the organizer who set everything up. You usually have to take a different stance legally.
In this case, your Ponzi scheme lawyer will usually go after the broker or brokerage firm that informed you about the Ponzi opportunity or performed the trade. It is easier, if not more practical, to hold these parties accountable to get your money back on the investment. If you want to realize a fair and equitable settlement, one where you can receive a full return, this is the better strategy to take.