Charges have recently been filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against Chicago-based broker Bradley Allen Goodbread, earlier associated with LPL Financial. Goodbread is accused of defrauding a senior client with dementia out of $1.3 million. Sadly elder financial abuse is growing.
Elder financial abuse can occur when an adult misappropriates or uses an elderly person’s financial resources for selfish purposes. This abuse happens in a relationship where there is an expectation of trust. If you suspect that your loved one is being abused, you should act immediately. Here are some signs that it might be happening.
Contact us for a free consultation if you or a loved one have been financially exploited or defrauded. Whatever the nature of the fraud, we can help protect you and your loved ones.
The Elder Financial Abuse lawyers at Haselkorn & Thibaut have over 50 years of experience and a 98% success rate. Contact our experienced investment fraud lawyer for a confidential and free consultation at 1-800-856-3352.
Elder Financial Abuse Signs
There are many signs of elder financial abuse, including sudden changes to an elderly person’s financial situation. These can include large withdrawals without explanation or an increase in ATM transactions. A loved one might also stop receiving bank statements or may not be able to explain new credit cards in their name. Financial transactions may also be conducted by third parties without proper documentation, such as opening new bank accounts without the elderly person’s knowledge. If these signs of financial abuse are present, it’s time to contact the local authorities.
Elder financial abuse can also affect the target’s relationships and health. It is important for family and close friends to keep a watchful eye. For example, if the elderly person becomes confused when discussing his or her finances, they may forget financial transactions or give a contradictory or questionable explanation. If this happens, they are probably being abused financially. In addition, financial habits may change, and an elderly person may appear to be ashamed of his or her financial situation.
The most important thing to do is to remain vigilant and take action as soon as you suspect that your elderly loved one is being abused. Oftentimes, this happens with family members, friends, or even professionals. Elder financial abuse is a very serious issue, and laws are in place to protect the elderly from financial abuse. Fortunately, a caregiver or family member can prevent it by becoming aware of the warning signs.
Factors contributing to the vulnerability of seniors to financial fraud
Age-related development often causes a decline in cognitive thinking. Mental impairment and dementia can also set in. Even physical limitations sometimes lead to sub-optimal decision-making.
These factors contribute to reducing an elder investor’s ability to make sound financial and investment decisions.
Large nest egg
Through a life of activity and hard work, many people develop a nest egg meant to provide for life as a senior similar to what they were used to in earlier days. The nest egg, which keeps growing during working years, can often become substantial in the senior years. This acts as a lure for financial fraudsters.
Pride and isolation
Senior investors who realize they have been taken advantage of could shy away from taking action as they are forced to admit the fact that they were taken advantage of. This becomes even more likely if they are living in relative isolation, physically as well as emotionally. They may not even know who to turn to for succor.
Penalties for elder financial abuse are very serious. These crimes are committed when someone in a position of trust takes advantage of an older person by using their money, belongings, or assets without permission or knowledge. As a result, the perpetrator of financial elder abuse may be subject to a range of penalties, ranging from a simple misdemeanor to a Class B felony.
If you suspect financial abuse of your elder, you must take action. You can file a complaint with your local District Attorney’s office. The agency can investigate possible cases of elder financial abuse and help you find out who’s responsible. Financial institutions can also help you identify the perpetrators of financial abuse. In some cases, financial institutions have been the first to report cases of financial exploitation to authorities.
Penalties for elder financial abuse vary depending on the severity of the crime and the financial losses involved. Generally, larger financial losses warrant stiffer penalties. Often, the perpetrators of elder financial abuse are close family members. However, in extreme cases, the victim may opt to file criminal charges.
In 2021 Goodbread had been barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for his failure to cooperate in a probe done by the self-regulatory organization (SRO).
In early 2022, a FINRA lawsuit had been settled by LPL for $1.2 million. The customer filing the suit had alleged that she had been induced into putting money into unregistered, fraudulent securities by Goodbread, apart from getting appointed as her power of attorney holder.
Goodbread Complaint and SEC Case
According to the SEC, Goodbread had solicited a client, who is now in the late nineties, for investment in a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust). To generate the funds, this client liquidated some of her investments and passed on the required funds to Goodbread, presumably to be invested as recommended by him. As it transpired, $1.3 million was misappropriated by him. Eventually, the client got back only $450K.
Investor Loss Recovery Options
The regulatory environment provides avenues for victims of fraud to pursue claims against the perpetrators. The avenue that yields the best results in pursuit of the claim against the broker or their firm is through a FINRA arbitration suit.
Financial fraud against senior investors, unfortunately, is a reality. Goodbread is one of several brokers and advisors accused of doing so. Annually, one in five Americans over 65, becomes the victim of financial fraud.
If you are the victim of financial fraud or know someone who is, you are invited to speak with one of the seasoned elder investment fraud attorneys at 1-800-856-3352.
Perpetrators need not be outsiders. Trusted family members and friends could also be turned on by greed. In the case of financial advisors and their firms, the commitment to fraud violates their fiduciary duties, making it easier to pursue a claim for damages.
It is also possible that senior investors losing money is a result of poor investment choices and the turn of the market and not fraud or misrepresentation of negligence on part of the advisor.
If you are the victim of financial fraud or know someone who is, you are invited to speak with one of the experienced elder investment fraud attorneys at 1-800-856-3352.