Did You Get “Taken” at Lunch or Dinner?
Turn to an Experienced Investment Fraud Attorney for Help
Investment fraud happens everywhere, even at mealtime. Seminars in which people are invited for a free steak or other pricey meal in return for listening to a financial advisor or other speaker give investment advice are often rife with misleading information and fraud. While these events are typically depicted as educational presentations, the majority of them are actually sales pitches designed to attract investor clients for the speakers or their associates. Speakers may promise big returns on investments that are unsuitable for many investors or even outright fraudulent, which means attendees who place their trust in these speakers may well lose some or all their investment money.
Were You the Victim of a Free Steak Dinner Investment Scam? Reach out to Wolper Law Firm, P.A. to Learn about Possible Recovery of Your Money.
If you lost money after signing up for an investment at a free meal seminar and believe it was due to fraud or negligence, contact Wolper Law Firm, P.A. to learn about potential options for recovery. We provide free initial consultations to aggrieved investors…and our no-obligation consultations truly are free. Call 800.931.8452 to arrange a time to speak with us. Our investment loss attorneys have an over 99% recovery rate.
Don’t let an unscrupulous broker or advisor cheat you out of your hard-earned money. Learn about options for recovery by speaking with one of our experienced investment fraud attorneys.
Free Meal Investment Scam Targeting Elderly Investors
According to a recent study by the American Association of Retired People (AARP), the financial contributions of Americans 50 years of age and older would make them the world’s third-largest economy if they were a country. Scammers understand that older people as a group have more financial assets than younger people and so they often target elderly and older adults with misleading, inappropriate, or fraudulent investment opportunities, including inviting them to free meal investment seminars where they try to pressure investors with strong arm sales pitches. Just about every person over 55 or 60 has probably received an invitation to one or more of these events. Retirees and people who are getting close to retirement may be especially vulnerable to these scams that seem legitimate but are actually intended to enrich dishonest advisors and brokers, rather than seminar attendees.
If you or an elderly relative attended such an event and believe you were the victim of a dishonest financial advisor, you may have recourse for getting your money back. Contact Wolper Law Firm, P.A. to learn about your options today.
Investigations of Free Meal Investment Scams
Millions of older Americans attend free meal investment seminars every year. Scams at these events are so common and widespread that they are high on the radar of the nation’s securities regulators. These regulators include the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), which represents state regulators.
In an effort to protect senior investors, these organizations investigated more than 100 broker-dealers, investment advisors and other firms that offer free lunch investment seminars. Regulators looked at marketing and presentation materials, actual investment transactions that resulted from these events and the supervisory policies and procedures of the firms in preventing securities law violations.
The resulting report by regulators indicated that in addition to the seminars being targeted to seniors and being designed to sell products rather than educate investors, the following was found:
- Half of the free meal seminars contained exaggerated, misleading, or otherwise unwarranted claims.
- 59% of the firms had inadequate supervisory practices in place for free meal seminars.
- At 23% of the seminars, there were indications that unsuitable investments were recommended.
- 13% of seminars appeared to involve fraud, including sales of fictitious products and groundless projections about returns on investments.
As you can see, a free meal really does not exist when it comes to these seminars. One way or another, investors pay the price, either by being subjected to aggressive sales tactics or, worse, by losing money if they fall prey to dishonest financial advisors.
Contact a Determined Investment Loss Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you signed up for an investment offer at a free meal event or with the event speaker at a later time and lost your money, we can examine your case for fraud or to learn if an inappropriate investment was recommended for your portfolio and goals. Our attorneys are passionate about helping senior citizens and other people who have lost retirement savings and other money to greedy investment scams. Call 800.931.8452 today.
What is the Process for Recovering Money from Free Meal Scams?
Many Cases of Investment Fraud Are Decided in FINRA Arbitration
Like other investment fraud cases, claims from free meal investment scams may be decided through FINRA arbitration. In arbitration, your claim will be reviewed and heard by a neutral arbitrator, or arbitrators, depending upon the dollar amount. You will have a chance to present your side of the case, as will the broker or advisor. You must be able to prove that it was the actions of the broker or advisor that led to your investment loss. If you signed up for an unsuitable investment on the recommendation of the advisor or were offered a fraudulent investment, you will have to provide evidence of this misconduct. If the decision goes in your favor, you must be repaid your investment within 30 days.
The vast majority of investment misconduct claims are resolved in arbitration or mediation through FINRA. Most investment firms and brokerage houses have clauses in their customer agreements that require binding arbitration. In the unusual event that the financial services firm you invested through does not have such a clause, you may also have the option of having your claim resolved in civil court. If the speaker at the free meal seminar who sold you a financial product was unlicensed, you may be able to sue him or her in court. However, the trial process typically takes much longer than arbitration.
Our attorney will counsel you about your options and gather the evidence to prove fraud or other misconduct. We will guide you through the entire arbitration or court process.
Common Questions About Free Meal Investment Scams
Free meal investment scams are confusing. The people who operate them are often slick and polished in their communications skills and come off as trustworthy. They also may use high-pressure tactics to try and gain customers and make sales. Read on to learn how you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of a free steak dinner investment scam.
Here are some signs to look out for:
- Does the speaker guarantee high returns on an investment?
- Does he or she pressure attendees to invest right away, or they will lose their chance?
- Was the event billed as an educational experience, but instead hard-sell tactics are being used?
- Does the speaker discuss all the other investors who have made a boatload of money on the security?
- Is the security you are being offered unregistered, which is often a sign of fraud?
Never sign up for an investment opportunity at a free lunch or dinner investment seminar. If you are interested, ask the advisor a lot of questions about the opportunity, check the advisor and their firm out with securities regulators and do not allow yourself to be rushed into a decision. If you did sign up for an investment that turned out to cost you money, contact our law firm to learn about possible recovery.
While you should be wary of investment seminars offering free meals to seniors, there may be cases where the speaker is legitimate. They may be merely trying to interest potential customers, without the aim of pressuring attendees into fraudulent or inappropriate investments. But how can you be sure? Although you can never be 100% positive whether you are being led into a scam, you can check out the credentials of the speaker and their firm to find out if they are registered with FINRA or the SEC and whether they have been disciplined for fraudulent or negligent actions in the past. You can also check with your state regulator here. If you see any red flags, stay far away.
Our investment fraud attorneys will review all the documentation you signed, look at your statements and investigate all the evidence of fraud or misconduct in your case. We will advise you about the steps for filing an arbitration claim and be at your side throughout the process, including presenting your case in the arbitration hearing. Call 800.931.8452 for help today.
Don’t Let Scammers Keep Your Money—Get Help Today
When you have worked hard your entire life to have a comfortable retirement, it is devastating to lose money to dishonest brokers and financial advisors. You do not have to tolerate the loss. The attorneys at Wolper Law Firm, P.A. stand up assertively for individuals who have lost money at so-called free meal investment seminars. We want to help you, too.
Schedule a complimentary consultation with an experienced free meal investment scam attorney by calling 800.931.8452. We serve investors throughout the country.