According to the Washington Post, one out of five Americans above 65 has been the victim of a financial scheme. Elder fraud is so rampant that each year money stolen from seniors adds up to more than $2.6 billion. Statistics also show that more than a third of elderly individuals over seventy have some sort of memory disorder, which explains why the unscrupulous take advantage of this segment of the population. As a result, several governmental organizations joined forces to create the Elderly Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation Project. The organizations involved include the North American Securities Administrators Association, the National Adult Protective Services Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the National Area Health Education Center Organization and the National Association of Geriatric Education Centers.
What the article does not discuss is that there are already plenty of regulators that are supposed to be stopping financial fraud. The problem is that they are failing miserably at their jobs due to budget shortfalls and/or a lack of the investment knowledge necessary to keep up with the criminal segment of the population. Unfortunately, the Elderly Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation Project as a group likely will not be any more successful than their individual counterparts are at stopping financial fraud.
We find it particularly interesting that there does not appear to be a single organization from the private sector participating in this project. Indeed, there are organizations out there that have a financial interest in stopping financial fraud. For example, the Public Investor Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA), a non-profit organization made up of attorneys who represent investors to recover investment losses, would be a great asset to such a project. These are the types of organizations that should be included in finding ways to solve these problems, not more overworked and under paid government employees who will ultimately do nothing to help these aggreived investors recover their losses.
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.