As if ISIS terrorists, ebola, militarized police, and race riots are not enough, we now read in the Atlanta Business Chronicle that white collar crime is on the rise (“White Collar Crime Wave,” by Dave Williams, August 22-28, 2014). Prosecutors report a significant increase in white collar criminal activity, according to the article. One former federal prosecutor was quoted as saying: “It’s a national trend.”
White collar crime includes various forms of financial fraud. Examples include Ponzi schemes (think Madoff, where cash flow from newer victims was used to pay previous investors until the house of cards collapsed) and affinity fraud. In an affinity fraud scenario, the investment promoter gains credibility and hooks victims by playing up things they have in common.
Perhaps the most common and outrageous example of affinity fraud that is the proverbial “wolf in sheep’s clothing” who preys on church members. The article mentioned the sad case of Ephren Taylor II, the purported wealth builder who defrauded members of a prominent Atlanta church out of millions of dollars.
Elder financial exploitation is another tragic and infuriating example of the kind of white collar criminal activity that is on the rise.
Victims of financial fraud, through no fault of their own, undergo a kind of vertigo similar to that experienced by a pilot, who, in a crisis, must decide whether to trust his or her own strong instinct (which is typically the tragic mistake) or what the instruments are showing, which seems to be counterintuitive. Similarly, victims of financial fraud often report that they experienced conflicting signals: the signal from the fraudster, who is often a polished and convincing confidence (con) man versus an internal warning bell that something is not quite right about this opportunity or the person conveying it.
When it comes to deciding whether to invest, especially in an alternative or unconventional investment, investors are well-advised to be skeptical, and act accordingly. If the business is so great, why do they need financing from investors like me? Why haven’t banks or professional venture capitalists provided financing? If the opportunity is so great, why is the promoter selling instead of buying?
The Doss Firm represents people from all walks of life who are victims of financial fraud. If you have fallen victim to financial fraud, you should consult with attorneys who have experience representing investors, because you may be able to recover some or all of your losses. You should do so promptly, because time limits, such as statutes of limitation, can bar some or all of your claims.
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.