It’s hard to keep up with the fraud news this week

by Michael Tarsala

It’s hard keep up with all the financial fraud news this week!

In addition to the one alleged fraud that victimized former cowboys coach Barry Switzer and former Steelers linebacker Kendrell Bell, there’s the ongoing story of Peregrine Financial.

Peregrine CEO Russell Wasendorf Sr. pled not guilty this week after being charged with 31 counts of lying to federal regulators.

The regulators estimate that at least $200 million in customer money is missing from a Peregrine bank account, and that the company fabricated monthly reports on customer funds.

Eddie Elfenbein at CrossingWallStreet has one of the best Peregrine reports I’ve seen. It includes lots of good details, as well as the following six “tell-tale traits” of financial fraudsters:

  • They promise minimum or steady returns
  • They claim their opportunities are exclusive, available only to a select few
  • Their means of making money is too complicated or secret to explain
  • They make it difficult to withdraw your money, saying that funds have been frozen
  • They issue statements that lack detail, or that frequently show discrepancies that cannot be explained
  • They are frequently run by a single individual whose charm and charisma allow him maximum leverage over investors’ fears—and greed

If I could add one more word of advice, it’s to always be sure any financial advisor gives you complete control of your money.

At Covestor, we believe we have a true innovation in the investment industry: Affordable separately managed accounts. Invest with us, and your money is held in a top-tier brokerage account bearing your name, separate from everyone else’s money. It’s not sloshing around in a big pool run by us or some third party, and there is no one earning interest on it.

It’s your own account; you can see the balance change on a daily basis, make investment changes extremely quickly, and pull your money at your complete discretion.

Best of all, Covestor can set you up with your own individual account for as little as $10,000. Some private wealth management firms require anywhere from $250,000 to $1.5 million for similar services.

If you would like to learn more or to give our investment service a try, call us at 866-825-3005 X 703, in our New York Office.


Photo by:  Images_of_Money