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Financial Fraud Can Happen to Anyone

The recent news of Indianapolis Colts football player Dwight Freeney being scammed by people he trusted is another example of the dynamics of financial fraud. Anyone can become a victim of investment fraud and, in many instances, the schemes are concocted by family, friends or trusted advisors.

Financial fraud is far from an anonymous crime. Oftentimes, the perpetrators are the people most familiar to their victims.  According to a 2011 study by MetLife, more than 1 million older Americans lose nearly $3 billion annually as a result of financial fraud. Some 55% of financial abuse in the United States is committed by family members, caregivers and friends, says the MetLife study.

The financial abuse itself can take many forms, including outright theft or forgery to rerouting assets without a victim’s knowledge or making unauthorized transactions in a victim’s brokerage account.

In Freeney’s case, the people behind the alleged fraud were his financial advisors and a business manager. The individuals, Eva D. Weinberg and Michael A. Stern, now face federal charges after allegedly embezzling some $2.5 million from Freeney.

Financial abusers depend on the silence of their victims to run their con. If you suspect someone may be a victim of financial fraud or abuse, contact local authorities immediately.

Another source of help is the Eldercare Locator, a program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that provides individuals with information on support services in their communities.

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