EQUITY TRUST EMPLOYEE STEALS FROM THEIR CUSTOMERS

http://www.fbi.gov/minneapolis/press-releases/2013/sioux-falls-man-pleads-guilty-to-wire-fraud As all of you know, I am not a fan of Self-Directed IRAs. I am not a fan because the administrators and custodians that "manage" them actually do very little, charge hefty fees and use their adhesion contracts to negate any liability on their part- even for fraud.  So you can imagine my surprise when I read the above story about an Equity Trust employee in South Dakota who through the knowledge gained working at Equity Trust assumed the identity of Equity Trust customers and took their money!

How in the world could that happen? Because if you read Equity Trust's website you will see that they are compliant, secure, have the best employees and are heavily regulated.  Yet their own employee took the retirement monies of their customers and they processed the transactions!

If I were an Equity Trust customer, I would be very, very concerned about my account.

The cases that I deal with concern Ponzi schemers who perpetuate investment fraud through Self-Directed IRAs.  But this story takes it to a whole new level.

And those of you who still  have money left or a viable investment at Equity Trust- should take this as a warning.  All the best, Cathy

 

EPHREN TAYLOR VICTIMS and WHISTLEBLOWERS-PLEASE READ AND FORWARD INFO TO OTHER VICTIMS

On Monday, there will be an announcement concerning Ephren Taylor.  Please check my Blog as I will post it as soon as it becomes available.  If you have information on Taylor's Ponzi scheme or anyone who helped him with the scheme, please contact me at 954-332-1143 or clerman@lermanfirm.com.  Our law firm along with the rest of the legal team will be suing those entities, such as Equity Trust Company, that facilitated Taylor's fraudulent investment schemes. If you have information that would assist us in these cases, please contact us immediately. A Big Thank You to everyone who has come forward and provided us with information on Taylor and Equity Trust Company.

PLEASE NOTE THAT WE HAVE INFORMATION THAT EPHREN AND MESHELLE TAYLOR HAVE INITIATED OTHER SCHEMES POSSIBLY INVOLVING IDENTITY THEFT AND CREDIT CARD FRAUD IN NEW YORK AND KANSAS. IF YOU HAVE INFORMATION ON THESE CURRENT SCHEMES THAT THE TAYLORS ARE INVOLVED IN, PLEASE REPORT THIS TO THE FBI IMMEDIATELY OR YOU MAY PROVIDE THIS INFORMATION TO MY OFFICE AND I WILL MAKE SURE THAT IT IS REPORTED TO LAW ENFORCEMENT.

May God Bless All of the Taylors' Victims, Both New and Old ! 

And May God Put An End To This Decade Long Trail of Evil!              Love to all, Cathy

 

WILL EPHREN TAYLOR, THE BLACK BERNIE MADOFF, GET OFF WITHOUT CRIMINAL CHARGES?

There is not much difference between going into a bank with a gun and telling the bank employees to give you all the money so you can steal it and going into a church and telling the congregation to give you all of their money so you can steal it.  The only difference is that with one of these crimes you have a physical weapon.  I am not so sure that using race and religion to steal from people is not also using a weapon albeit a psychological one. Should the lack of a physical weapon preclude criminal prosecution of the thief?   I don't think so. So why hasn't Ephren Taylor been indicted?  Why isn't he sitting in jail awaiting trial? I have been asked that question over and over again by Taylor's victims but  I don't know the answer to that question.  There are plenty of Ponzi Schemers across the U.S. awaiting trial in jail, why isn't Ephren in jail?  Is it because Taylor still has so much of his victims'  monies socked away that he can afford to pay a criminal defense lawyer  to negotiate  a get out of jail free card for him?  I know Taylor took way more than $11 million.  I certainly hope  that Taylor will not be able to use the money he stold to help him avoid being held accountable.   The bank robber didn't intentionally target his or her victims  personally, they are simply bank employees, but  Taylor did.  Taylor targeted his own people as his victims. Does he get "credit" for his deviousness?  I think he should. We shall see....

And a note to the Ephren Taylor victims, I will be posting an update within the next 10 days.  Stay tuned.

God bless! Cathy

 

You Need to Know the Dirty Little Secret Grandma and Grandpa Are Hiding -Financial Elder Abuse Alert

Do you know if your Grandma and Grandpa still have money left in their retirement account to assure their well-being until their death?  If you don't, then you need to start asking some questions particularly if Grandma and Grandpa held their retirement savings in a self-directed IRA (SDIRA). After speaking to many victims of fraud promoters and Ponzi Schemers who are over 60 and many in their 70s and 80s, the number of fraudulent investment schemes preying on and targetting the elderly appears to be skyrocketing across the country.  And that is a real problem because much like those victims of affinity fraud who are hesitant to even admit they have been defrauded, seniors are particularly unlikely to tell anyone about being scammed but particularly their own family. 

The reason for that is very simple.  As one 82 year old man told me-"they will have me in a nursing home tomorrow if they find out I lost my retirement money in a Ponzi scheme.  They will think I am incapable of taking care of myself and all of my independence will be taken away."  Are you listening relatives? 

There is a unspoken belief among our population that if a senior, meaning someone 65 or over, invests in a Ponzi scheme and loses their money it is because they are incompetent.  Really?  Because I talk to 30 and 40 year olds who invested in Ponzi schemes and lost all of their money and they were never deemed incompetent for making the investment.  So why is a senior treated differently?

I believe that the reason why financial elder abuse through fraudulent investment schemes is skyrocketing is because of this dirty little secret that everyone knows and no one talks about. There is a big difference between being fooled and being foolish.  Fraudsters know how to swindle smart people-look at the Bernie Madoff victims or the Scott Rothstein victims.  These Ponzi schemers stold the money of millionaires but I didn't read in any court filings or news reports that it was because  the investors were incompetent to manage their personal affairs. No, they were simply scammed.

I encourage organizations such as the AARP to educate the public about these schemes and remove the shame prohibiting disclosure.  I also encouage all of you to talk to the elderly members of your family and make sure they are not an undisclosed victim.  We can't help people that we don't know have been swindled.  Don't let the fraudsters get away because their victims are afraid to speak.  Communicate and Educate People about this Dirty Little Secret of the Elderly.

 

SHOULD SELF-DIRECTED IRAS BE REGULATED LIKE OTHER INVESTMENTS?

The answer, of course, from a lawyer representing hundreds of victims of Ponzi schemes orchestrated through Self-Directed IRAS ("SDIRAS") is a resounding "Yes!"  The current lack of regulation of SDIRAS is clearly NOT working.  Although there are stories of untold wealth being made with SDIRAS, there are also more stories of fraud, theft and Ponzi schemes that are executed exclusively through the use of SDIRAS.  There is something inherently wrong with an investment vehicle that is so wildly popular with fraudsters preying upon innocent investors that the SEC and others need to issue alerts about it.  What about the Ponzi schemers who are targeting the elderly with the promise of guaranteed returns if they will only transfer their entire life savings to a SDIRA which can then be wired to the Ponzi schemers and never seen again?  Why are we permitting these kind of financial elder abuse schemes to continue to occur unabated?

I really do not want to know how many cases of  financial elder abuse are being consummated daily in this country through the use of SDIRAS. The only way to stop this ever-increasing fraud being perpetrated through SDIRAS is to make SDIRAS less attractive as an investment tool to swindle an innocent victim.  It is way too easy right now for creative fraud promoters to perpetuate multi-million dollar frauds with SDIRAS.

Here are a few simple suggestions to curb SDIRA fraud:

1. Require the Custodians of SDIRAS to actually verify that the investment" is  being offered by a licensed and registered financial advisor or investment broker (for you lawyers-read that "insured" investment advisors).

2. Require the Custodians of SDIRAS to actually verify "ownership" of title to the investments being held within the SDIRA (which they are supposed to do already) regardless of whether it is stocks, real estate, a business, etc.  Let's have a little scrutiny on what the investor is purchasing. After the transaction is complete, what exactly will be held by the SDIRA?

3. Let's require SDIRA Custodians to actually do something for their money. Let's require Custodians to audit each SDIRA at least semi-annually and provide the SDIRA owner with a written valuation of the holdings in their SDIRA account.  Sunshine is, after all, the best disinfectant!

Just these simple changes would go along way towards curbing fraud through SDIRA investment solicitations.  Would love to hear your suggestions as well.  You may email me at clerman@lermfirm.com.