Here is a good news article about love scam targeting seniors.
“Men and women who typically work out of Nigeria or Russia (but claim to
be living in America) develop relationships with Americans they meet on
Internet dating sites. They send e-mails filled with romantic poetry
and promises of their undying devotion, in hopes that this would assure
a cash advance to pay for a fake hotel or plane bill. The victim
believes that the relationship is sincere, but ends up with broken
dreams and an empty pocket book.
The emotional betrayal may be worse than the lost money.”
Walter Kincherlow Sr., 69, never expected to retire a millionaire. But
during his 29 years as a maintenance worker, he managed to sock away
more than $80,000. He invested pretty well too, until an “estate
planner” took a look at his portfolio while updating his living trust
and clucked that Kincherlow’s investment returns were paltry.
Claiming that Kincherlow could earn 20% per year safely, he
persuaded the widower to pour his life savings into real estate
investments with an El Segundo investment firm called Jon W. James
& Associates. Kincherlow said he was assured that his principal was
safe. But signs of trouble emerged when he wanted to start spending
some of his savings. Then, company managers either couldn’t be reached
or talked him out of withdrawal, he said. Meanwhile, they tried to
persuade him to secure a huge home equity loan to invest even more.
Securities regulators filed an emergency action last summer to shut
down the firm, which they claimed was operating a $22-million fraud.
James maintained in legal filings that the company’s investments simply
had insufficient time to pan out. In any event, a court-appointed
receiver says investors are owed about $13 million, but the company has
less than $4 million in assets to repay investors.
telling me that I might end up with $6,000 or $7,000 out of all of the
money I invested,” said Kincherlow, who now lives in Victorville. “I
wish I never had done this.”
He has plenty of company. More
than 200 investors are in similar straits with Jon W. James &
Associates, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
million seniors are victimized by some sort of financial fraud each
year, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission. California
law enforcement authorities believe that about a million of those
victims live in the Golden State. Fraud against seniors is rising,
experts add, but precise numbers are impossible to come by, partly
because authorities believe that only 1 in 5 such frauds are ever
The tragic part: Once a senior gets taken, there’s
little chance he or she will ever get the money back. And experts
maintain that most of the fraud is easily avoided.