Archive for December, 2008

Madoff - If They Didn’t Know, How Will You?

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Salomon Brothers’s former Chief Economist.  An Oscar-nominated actor.  Others who counted themselves among the very wealthiest of Americans.  All of them fell victim to Bernard Madoff’s record-setting Ponzi scheme.  How could it happen?  Investor’s Watchdog has the answer to that question, and the more important question:  How can you prevent yourself from duplicating their mistake? (more…)

Madoff - The Network

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal featured articles on investment advisers who put their clients in Bernard Madoff’s record-setting Ponzi scheme.  One of the articles described how Thierry Magon de La Villehuchet committed suicide after realizing that he had lost $1.5 billion for his investors and $50 million personally.  David Gauthier-Villars wrote:

Mr. de La Villehuchet’s story underscores how Mr. Madoff’s success world-wide relied on a network of feeders who trusted the New York fund manager so much they put their whole fortunes in his care. (more…)

Where Is Your Money?

Monday, December 29th, 2008

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed a civil action against Star Explorations, Inc. and its principal, James T. Gurgainers, for allegedly conducting a fraudulent oil and gas scam.  According to the SEC, Gurgainers raised over $12 million from over 160 investors between December 2005 and May 2008. (more…)

Talking to Your Parents About Money

Friday, December 26th, 2008

Most retirees fall prey to scams for lack of counsel.  Quite often the victims have adult children who, if consulted about the proposed investment, could do additional investigation that a senior citizen in the grip of an accomplished salesman is not likely to do.  (more…)

Protect Your Elderly Parents

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

We blog often on the danger facing baby boomers, with $2 trillion in money set to roll out of 401k accounts and into the hands of brokers or scam artists.  But if there is anyone more vulnerable than a baby boomer, it’s the baby boomer’s parentBrokers know that what the elderly often lack is someone to pay attention to them, someone to listen to them, someone to make them feel important.  Taking advantage of that fact, some brokers talk their way into a role in the senior’s life that gives them unfettered control over the senior’s financial affairs. (more…)

More than Just Madoff

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

While Bernard Madoff’s scam does seem to be all over the headlines, it’s not the only Ponzi scheme reeking havoc. Jim Walsh, a Courier- Post staff writer wrote a great article detailing another $1.3 million Ponzi scheme that was aimed at senior citizens(more…)

Madoff 4 - Why You Can’t Avoid a Ponzi on Your Own

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Humans differ, obviously.  We look different, sound different, and act different.  But there are certain traits that we all share.  We all are hard-wired with an instinct for physical self-preservation.  We are all hard-wired to avoid physical pain.  Yet, there are basic instincts that work against us when it comes to avoiding a financial scam.  Kristen J. Prentice, Ph.D., James M. Gold, Ph.D., and William Carpenter Jr., M.D. wrote about it in a paper published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.  (more…)

Madoff Has Plenty of Company, and He Always Will

Friday, December 19th, 2008

The Ponzi scheme is old - older than Charles Ponzi himself, believe it or not.  But even if we assume that Ponzi invented the scam that bears his name, it will soon celebrate its 100th birthday.  Given the millions of victims the scam has claimed since Ponzi walked the streets of New York City, why do people continue to fall for it in such spectacular numbers with such horrendous results? (more…)

Former SEC Enforcement Branch Chief says Madoff Fraud Avoidable

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

MARIETTA, GEORGIA – December 16, 2008
For former SEC Enforcement Branch Chief, Pat Huddleston, the Madoff fraud came as no surprise.  “There were warning signs,” he says. “Madoff was clever, but his secretiveness and his supposed track record would have been enough for us to warn our clients away from him.”  Huddleston’s company, Investor’s Watchdog LLC, investigates brokers and unregistered investments, pre-investment, to protect its clients from reckless brokers and financial scams.

Huddleston doesn’t blame the victims, though.  “As much as we like to think of ourselves as smart and good judges of character,” he says, “no investor is immune from a financial scam.”  Huddleston says that we all have a natural optimism that tells us that things like this can’t happen to us.  “You can’t overcome that on your own,” he says.  That’s where Investor’s Watchdog comes in.  Using Huddleston’s SEC experience, the company gives investors the objective, often sobering, perspective they need before choosing to risk any part of their life savings.

Investor’s Watchdog has helped investors avoid the nightmare that Madoff’s victims are suffering through.  For proposed hedge fund investments, Investor’s Watchdog does a thorough review of all offering documents and an investigation of the people involved before issuing a Safety Rating that reflects IW’s opinion on whether the investment is legitimate.

Huddleston served in the SEC’s Enforcement Division from 1990 to 1996, and was an Enforcement Branch Chief in the Atlanta office from 1992 to 1996 before returning to private practice to represent individual investors.  He is currently serving as court-appointed Receiver in three fraud cases commenced by the SEC.

For additional information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Pat Huddleston, please contact Lauren Bowman at 866.423.WDOG X106 or email at [email protected] # # #

Madoff 3 - ‘Smart’ Choices

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

It will be hard for Bernard Madoff to think of himself as smart when he’s sitting in a cell in a federal penitentiary.  And no one who has a heart for the victms of schemes like his can admire anything about his fraud.  But, among the community of scam artists, his scheme has, no doubt, attracted admirers who will learn from Madoff’s example.  (more…)