How to Detect Investment Fraud, Recover What's Lost
By Jennifer Pierce, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Investment fraud affects people all across the country, including in Oklahoma, but now a metro organization is helping those who fall victim recover what they lost.
A lot of investors have lost money during this economic downturn, but what they may not know is that it's not all because of the stock market, and they can get their money back if they know where to start.
"A lot of things happened with the greed in the last few years," said Terry Weber, with Investment Recovery Advocates.
Weber started Investment Recovery Advocates, which is made up of a group of security experts and attorneys who help investors determine why they lost their funds and how to get them back.
"Most people have just decided it was the market or they've been told by their broker it was the market when it really wasn't," Weber said.
Fraud has impacted investors of all ages, but Weber said it has mostly affected seniors. Currently, she has been helping Peggy Horton, a retired teacher, recoup her losses.
Horton attended an investing seminar for seniors, but months later she learned she was scammed and lost $100,000.
"Normally I'm pretty careful not to do these," Horton said. "They told me my money was not safe where it was in the bank. You need to get your money out and put it where it is absolutely safe."
Peggy was tipped off by the Oklahoma Department of Securities, but there are other ways to know if you were scammed.
"If you have lost more than 30 or 40 percent in what you thought was a safe investment," Weber said.
Other red flags experts said to look out for include if your investment advisor is hard to reach, trades are made that you didn't authorize, or your broker tells you to expect a high percentage return even though the investment was not for a guaranteed rate of return.
"Everybody's embarrassed they didn't see it coming, but there is no reason to be embarrassed this is a very sophisticated market," Weber said.
There is a statute of limitations on investment fraud anywhere from one year to four years, so the sooner you know about it the sooner you can start the recovery process.
Before investing in a product, you can check out the broker or advisors history through the Oklahoma Department of Securities.