Many people remain unclear on what securities fraud is. Although we’ll get into that later, let’s talk about someone you may be a bit more familiar with: Bernie Madoff. Bernie Madoff was once a rich man, and now lingers in a jail cell. An investment manager, he had a career on Wall Street and served as chairman of the NASDAQ stock exchange at a point. This all came crashing down when Madoff was arrested in December 2008. As it turned out, he had been operating the second largest Ponzi scheme in history. Collectively, Madoff’s victims lost $20 billion; and Madoff is currently serving a 150 year prison sentence. The fact is that you don’t have to be rich and famous to be the victim of securities fraud, and you don’t have to have lost millions to be owed restitution and your day in court. If you feel that you have been the victim of such fraud, the first thing you need to do is find a securities fraud lawyer. While it’s true that in some cases, you may not be able to get all of your money back, you deserve justice. And furthermore, the person committing securities fraud needs to be put away, just like Madoff.
What Is Securities Fraud?
As any securities fraud lawyer can tell you, many victims of this crime are unaware that it even exists until it happens to them. This is because securities fraud is an insidious crime, difficult to recognize until it’s already been committed. In its simplest definition, securities fraud, otherwise known as stock fraud and investment fraud, causes investors to make purchase or sale decisions based on false information. This often results in losses, and is in violations of federal securities laws. It can also include more traditional theft from investors, embezzlement, stock manipulation, misstatement on a company’s financial report, and lying to corporate auditors. Sometimes, securities fraud lawyers find themselves dealing with victims of pyramid schemes. A pyramid scheme is a popular type of financial business fraud that starts with an initial person who is at the “top” of the pyramid. A second person is recruited to invest a certain amount of money, paid to the initial person. The second person must recruit more people under them, all of whom have to invest. Should the recruit get 10 or more people to invest, they will in turn get profit. Now, this isn’t always an outright fraud — but it’s often used as such. If you feel that you and your money could be the target of such schemes, it’s a good idea to invest in a business attorney, or perhaps a financial advisor attorney. However, when it comes to going after someone who has committed securities fraud, of course nothing can compare to a specialized securities fraud lawyer.
How Serious Are These Issues Today?
The Madoff cases proves that the demand for securities fraud lawyers will remain high in the years to come — and there’s more evidence of these crimes being uncovered every day. 2014 alone saw 633 corporate fraud pending cases, as well as 1,639 securities and commodities fraud pending cases. The SEC is also continuously filing charges for misconduct and other types of fraud. Stockbroker fraud remains a major issue for people to be aware of. The fact is that if you are an investor of any kind — or have enough money to become an investor — you can be targeted for this kind of fraud.
How Can I Protect Myself From Securities Fraud?
As simple as it sounds, having a good team of lawyers on your side is one of the best ways to prevent your becoming a victim of securities fraud. If you’re suspicious, have a securities fraud attorney go over your potential investors. If you feel that you’re on the brink of becoming a victim or have been victimized, make a plan with your lawyers. For that matter, contact the authorities as well. You’re not only doing yourself a favor, but helping those potential fraud victims as well.