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401(k) Participants Can Be Prime Targets of Cross-Selling Efforts

Participants in their company’s 401(k) plan have come to expect that their employer will protect their personal information from disclosure outside the plan. However, plan participants of Shell Oil’s 401(k) have filed a case in federal court in Galveston, Texas – Harmon v. Shell Oil Company – alleging Shell took no action to stop the […]

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Now is a Good Time to Judge Your Company’s Management of Its 401(k) Plan

No doubt you have seen the news recently about the stock market gyrations caused by the uncertainties arising from Covid-19.  Because many Americans’ retirement savings are invested directly and indirectly in the stock market, now may be the time to evaluate how your 401(k) is holding up through this market volatility. Foremost, a fund that […]

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Kick-Backs Put Deutsche Bank in SEC’s Crosshairs

Deutsche Bank is in the news again, this time for false and misleading sales practices. At the heart of a complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was a quid pro quo relationship in which Deutsche Bank offered only those funds whose sponsors agreed to kick-back a portion of their management fees to […]

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It’s Great You Have a 401(k) – But Who’s Minding the Store?

In recent years, employees have been filing an increasing number of meritorious lawsuits against employers for 401(k) mismanagement.  These claims are in the tens of millions of dollars and range from disloyalty to imprudence to disregarding conflicts of interest.  Some of the more egregious claims come when employers populate 401(k) plans with their own expensive […]

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Pump and Dump Schemes: The Trojan Horse of Investments

In the realm of financial services, unknowing investors often fall victim to various securities fraud schemes, and one of the more common ones is the “pump and dump.” “Pump and dump” schemes are often associated with penny stock fraud and microcap fraud and are serious violations of the law. The “pump and dump” is a […]

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Investor Trap: Beware of the Churn and Burn

Typically, stockbrokers earn commissions each time an investor enters a securities order to buy stock or a sell stock. Full-service stockbrokers earn higher commissions than online stockbrokers because unlike online stockbrokers, full-service stockbrokers provide investors with the added service of advising you when to buy, sell or hold particular investments. Because stockbrokers are paid on […]

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5th Circuit Kills DOL Fiduciary Duty Rule

The average person seeking financial advice for their retirement is unaware that the persons giving them advice are under no obligation to be loyal to their needs, to make prudent investment recommendations for them, or overall to act in their best interest. As a result, over the years many financial advisers motivated by their own […]

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Sanford Heisler Sharp is Investigating Misconduct Involving Options Assignment

Sanford Heisler Sharp is currently investigating the way E* Trade recently handled the assignment of a naked in-the-money put on the S&P 500 ETF (symbol SPY). A volatile price drop in SPY on the Friday of expiration triggered a likely assignment of 5,000 SPY shares. Rather than closing out the put contract before the close […]

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SEC Proposes Regulation to Enhance Investor Protection

In an effort to enhance investor protections, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is proposing a new rule – Regulation Best Interest – that may come as a surprise to some investors. The SEC’s proposed rule requires your stockbroker to act in your best interest at the time he or she recommends an investment to […]

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Fraudulent Investment Schemes Continue to Plague Investors: Beware of the “Red Flags”

We want to share with you a disturbing tale we heard recently from an investor in a private investment fund. We share this to alert you to “red flags” that signal the high likelihood of investor fraud. If you can spot them, you can better protect yourself from financial predators. The enactment of the Dodd-Frank […]

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FINRA Acts to Protect Senior Investors

As the U.S. population ages, senior investors increasingly have become more vulnerable to securities fraud.  Too often, caregivers ingratiate themselves with vulnerable seniors, only to secure powers of attorney and then use their new powers to drain the senior’s investment account. The so-called trusted caregiver then vanishes never to be seen or heard from again. […]

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Cryptocurrencies: A Virtual Mine Field

Cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin and ethereum, are intended to serve as a type of digital money that consumers can use in everyday commercial transactions. They may be traded on online exchanges for conventional currencies, including the U.S. dollar, or be used to purchase goods or services, usually online.  But with one bitcoin recently trading at […]

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《加利福尼亚州禁止侵害老年人财务法》- 加州老年人的强力法律武器

美国人口正日趋老龄化。人们在变老的同时,心智能力也会随之减弱,包括变得孤立、依赖于他人以及常感惊恐。而一些倾其一生积累了一定财富的老年人很容易成为一些不法分子的侵害目标。 这个侵害过程通常开始得很简单。一位投资知识有限或是英语能力有限的老年人开了一个投资账户并买入了一些固定收益股票。他希望得到一些可靠的投资建议,这样就能靠这些股票的收益安然度过余生。然而,在开户后的几个月时间里,开户券商就擅自把这位老人的账户类别设置成了激进型并批准该账户进行融资融券交易和期权交易。 紧接着该账户频繁进行针对于高风险股票和其他不当投资产品的高速当日交易。这些不当投资包括细价股、期权合同以及与大宗商品和珍稀金属的价值相关联的杠杆交易买卖基金。这个拥有50万资产的账户进行了超过2000万数额的交易额。因为这位老年人的投资知识和英语能力有限,很明显这些交易并不是他自己操作的。实际情况是他的证券经纪人违反了经纪义务,控制了该账户并通过过度交易来收取佣金。最终结果是这位老年人亏损了他一辈子的积蓄。 很多老年人遇到这种情况之后不愿意站出来。有些是出于羞愧心理,有些是不知道如何维护自己的权益,还有些人则是两者皆有。其实他们根本不需要这样。加州的老年人有一个强有力的法律武器可以随时使用,那就是《加利福尼亚州禁止侵害老年人财务法》。根据该法律,“侵害老年人财务”指的是当一个人或机构窃取、藏匿、占用、获得或者保留老年人或未独立成年人的个人财产或是不动产来进行不法使用且/或意图欺诈,并且知道或应当知道其行为极有可能造成伤害。对客户的股票经纪账户通过上述方式进行不当管理正是《加利福尼亚州禁止侵害老年人财务法》意在惩罚的行为,而且这些惩罚非常严厉。 首先,当股票经纪人被法院认定为侵害了老年人的财务权利时,法院必须判决给这位老年人补偿性赔偿款、合理的律师费用与支出以及法律提供的所有其他救济手段。 “法律提供的其他救济手段”指的是什么呢?如果股票经纪人被判定为压迫、欺诈或恶意,那么这位老年人除了可以获得实际损害赔偿之外,还可以根据《加州民法通则》第3294条获得惩罚性赔偿,作为对被告的惩罚以及对他们的警示。除了惩罚性赔偿之外,《加州民法通则》第3345条还允许法院在消费者欺诈案件中在满足以下情况下判罚三倍的赔偿金: 被告明知他的行为是针对于老年人的, 被告造成了该老年人收入的损失或是严重的财产损失,而这些财产是老年人专门为退休或个人或家庭维持生计准备的,或是这些财产对于该老年人的健康或福利非常关键,并且 由于年龄和受损的心智,该老年人面对被告的非法行为远比其他公众脆弱,并且被告的行为确实对他造成了严重的精神和财产损失。 总而言之,在《加利福尼亚州禁止侵害老年人财务法》的保护下,受害人可以获得实际损失和律师费用的赔偿。如果被告有严重不法行为,受害人还可以获得惩罚性赔偿和三倍的赔偿。由此可见,《加利福尼亚州禁止侵害老年人财务法》可以将相对很小的案子转变成有可能对股票经纪人和券商造成巨大损失和风险的案子。这样的法律保护机制为老年人提供了强有力的保护,也最大程度地扼制了那些违法分子进行犯罪作业。 如果您是投资欺诈的受害者,您应该勇敢地站出来捍卫自己的权利。如果您觉得自己或亲朋好友是侵害老年人财务犯罪的受害者,请尽快联系我们旧金山或圣地亚哥办公室的金融诉讼律师进行咨询。

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California Financial Elder Abuse Statute – A Powerful Weapon for California’s Seniors

Click here to read the Chinese version of this post America’s population is aging. As people age, their mental faculties can diminish. They can become isolated, dependent, and frightened.  Seniors who accumulated wealth over their lifetimes become attractive targets for unscrupulous people who prey on their vulnerabilities. It generally begins rather simply. A senior citizen […]

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Investment Fraud – Traps for the Unwary

Financial matters can be bewildering. Stockbrokers are supposed to help simplify the complexities and steer us in the right direction. But sometimes, stockbrokers care more about earning commissions than they do your well-being. It results in customers being stuck with dismal investments. Customers who complain are met with vigorous denials often supported by reams of […]

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