If you are a David Lerner customer who is invested in Apple REITs and have read the newspapers this week, you have probably been searching for quality information to help you assess whether: (1) your REIT investments have lost money; (2) you are in danger of losing money and (3) there are any steps that you can take to avoid losing money.
As an attorney who represents investors, there are steps that you need to take to help protect yourself just in case things go from bad to worse. These tips will help you organize your thoughts and make you feel like you are gaining control of the situation. Should you contact an attorney, these tips will make it easier for the attorney to evaluate your case.
Tip 1: Create a written chronology of events.
It is our understanding that many of David Lerner’s customers have attended one or more investment seminars. The statements made during these seminars as well as the documents provided by the financial advisor may turn out to be extremely important. For example, did the financial advisor hand out marketing materials describing the Apple REIT investments? Were they described to you as safe? Were any guarantees made?
Our memories are flawed and they become even more flawed as time passes. As a result, it is in your best interest to write down as much as you can remember now. You can add to it over time. Next week, you may see a television advertisement that triggers another helpful memory. Write it down. Focus on writing down things that you remember being told about the investment opportunity. Was it described as a safe investment? When were you told it was a safe investment opportunity? How many times were you told that it was a sure thing? How was the Apple REIT investments described to you?
All of these facts are very important should it become necessary to take legal action at some point in the future.
Tip 2: Begin to organize the key documents provided to you by David Lerner
Over the course of your relationship with David Lerner, you have probably received scores of documents. Below is a list of a few key documents that will help an attorney evaluate your case.
– Account opening documents: When you opened your David Lerner account, you signed documents that asked you to state your investment objectives and risk tolerance. For example, you or your financial advisor may have checked “income” as your investment objective and “moderate” as the risk tolerance. Furthermore, each year, David Lerner may have sent you a form asking you to update this information. Gather these documents together and place them in a seperate folder.
– Marketing Materials related to Apple REITs
– Handwritten notes and correspondences provided to you by your financial advisor: Notes by brokers can pop up in strange places like on the backs of folders, a torn piece of paper, etc. These could turn out to be a crucial pieces of evidence.
-Notes and correspondences from you to your advisor.
– Organize monthly account statements.
Tip 3: Beware of writing complaint letters
You may feel the need to write a complaint letter to David Lerner or a state regulator. Keep in mind that anything you say in those letter can be used against you later in a lawsuit.
Jason Doss is the owner of The Doss Firm, LLC, an Atlanta-based law firm devoted to representing consumers across the country in a variety of areas including investment disputes and consumer class action litigation. Mr. Doss earned his J.D. from Florida State University in 2002 and his B.A. from the University of Florida in 1997.