The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is an organization that all broker dealer firms and stockbrokers are registered with. It is a self-regulatory organization (SRO) that is vested with the regulation of brokers and the enforcement of rules governing the brokerage industry.
Having represented a number of individuals who have been the victims of investment fraud, it is clear that the FINRA publication labeled as a Recovery Checklist for Victims of Investment Fraud is informative in several respects. It can also leave individuals searching for practical information with some unanswered questions.
For one thing, the checklist seems to omit that hiring an experienced attorney may be the most direct step that an investment fraud victim might be able to take to recover any losses. While other links and FINRA materials do reference the potential hiring of a lawyer as a legitimate avenue for recovering investment losses, the checklist itself makes no such reference.
The checklist does however provide contact numbers for a number of resources for a victim of investment fraud to report a possible crime. Any victim of investment fraud or financial crimes may very well want to report these crimes to all appropriate agencies. The agencies listed are generally responsible for enforcing criminal laws or enforcing securities industry and related legal regulations and requirements.
In other words, the checklist provides a resource for bringing criminal or regulatory charges against a bad actor, but enforcing criminal laws and regulatory statutes do not typically assist a victim of investment or financial fraud in recovering their losses or damages. On some rare occasions, a victim?s damages could get recovered. However, that is typically not the responsibility of those enforcing criminal laws who want to put criminals behind bars, or regulatory enforcement personnel who are seeking to revoke a bad actor?s license.
The checklist appears to ignore the fact that an investment fraud or financial fraud victim may want to hire an attorney who serves no other purpose but to aggressively represent their own personal interests in pursuing the recovery of any loss or damage that has been incurred. FINRA does acknowledge that investment fraud or financial fraud victims may find that damages include the financial losses as well as emotional consequences (including stress, anxiety, insomnia, and depression).
The checklist could do a much better job of directing victims of investment fraud or financial fraud to retain their own private independent counsel as early in the process as possible. Recovering damages and losses can often be difficult and any delays could prove costly to the victim. While appropriate penalties should be pursued by government and regulatory prosecutors, victims may make the mistake of waiting around hoping the government will recover their money. That may not be the most practical or proactive process, nor is it a really effective strategy in many cases.
A victim of an investment fraud or financial fraud should not ?go it alone? or wait around hoping the government or regulators will seek restitution that will reimburse their losses. Victims should call a competent and experienced attorney to help advise them on the best strategy to pursue.
If you are a victim of investment fraud, or financial fraud, or you have questions or concerns regarding losses or the overall handling of your investment portfolio or your individual investments please contact the Investment Loss Recovery Group by phone or online now. We will help you schedule a no-cost consultation and review.