March 2014 Luncheon

Tom Simon 4-1-13 cropAlways a popular speaker, FBI Special Agent Tom Simon discussed “Protecting the Nest Egg” with updates on a number of Hawaii investment fraud cases.  Many of them involved fraudsters who convinced families to extract cash from the value of their homes, then invest in what they claimed to be high-yield investments.

They may provide the stated returns one or two times, just enough for their victims to spread the word about the apparently successful investment scheme they had stumbled upon. Predictably, the payouts stop coming. That’s when Simon gets the call from the victims.

He noted that 90% of his time is spent talking to victims, who want to talk about the end of the payouts. He tries to get them to focus on what the fraudsters said to them before they invested, and how they were convinced. The gap between what victims were promised vs. what actually happened is key to building the case against them.  While he wishes people would call to check on investments that seem too good to be true, he said this only happens 10% of the time.

He called on ACFE members, especially banking and financial professionals, to ask clients  “What’s going to happen to this money?” if they notice movements of large amounts.  This could help them open up the conversation about potential fraud, and possibly prevent one before it happens.

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