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Indiana Investment Adviser Arrested on Securities Fraud

Investment scams targeting the elderly are a thriving business for some unscrupulous individuals and so-called companies posing as legitimate financial firms. From  Bernie Madoff, to Medical Capital Holdings, to Tim Durham and, more recently, Indiana investment adviser Lynn Simon.

Simon of Evansville, Indiana, was arrested this spring on charges that he swindled more than $1 million from at least a dozen investors. He now faces three counts of securities fraud, Class B felonies, and a charge of unlawful sale of a security, a Class C felony.

Last week, Simon surrendered at the Vanderburgh County Jail.

According to court documents, several investors who lost money in Simon’s “investments” were elderly. One of the investors included a couple who lost $50,000 that they had planned to use for their retirement years.

The investigation into Simon came to a head in May after an Evansville resident filed a complaint with the Indiana Secretary of State’s office stating that he had stopped receiving interest payments on his investment with Simon. Court records show that Simon’s wife told this investor that Simon had been missing for two weeks.

Simon was a registered investment adviser with CFD Securities in Kokomo, Ind., and operated an office in Evansville under the name Financial Security Planning. Court records show that he was the sole owner of Financial Security Planning, as well as The Insurance Shoppe.

As reported by the Evansville Courier & Press, Simon’s arrest affidavit details an investment scheme involving investments for a private fund allegedly operated by Simon. Investors who invested in the fund were reportedly promised higher rates of returns on their investments. In some instances, the return rates were as high as 11%.

Investigators say that as part of the scheme, Simon issued typewritten promissory notes showing a rate of return at a specified maturity date. Simon did not register any of the investments that were sold under the Financial Security Planning name with the state of Indiana.

In addition, bank records did not show any money going to investments or insurance companies as purported by Simon, the Evansville Courier & Press story said. Instead, according to the affidavit, the records showed investor money going in and then either going to other investors or being withdrawn by Simon.

Investigators also say that Simon was the only person who was authorized to use the account. In addition, the records showed more than $42,000 had been withdrawn on the day before Simon’s wife first reported him missing.

Simon’s arrest serves as a cautionary reminder on the importance of thoroughly researching any investment opportunity, as well as the person or company presenting that investment. In the end, the extra homework can go a long way in preventing financial devastation.

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