What types of Elder Law cases do you handle?

That would run the gamut from garden-variety securities cases where a broker has defrauded an elderly person. It’s my view that older people are especially susceptible to manipulation and exploitation by brokers. So, that would be probably the most common type of case I would handle. Another situation that could arise would be other fiduciary-type cases where an elderly person has a friend or a trusted family member who is supposed to be looking out for their best financial interests. And as it turns out, that person is cheating them; perhaps stealing from them or in some way exploiting them. I will handle those types of cases as well.

Why the special interest in Elder Financial Abuse?

You know, over the years, it seems like I’ve had the occasional case come my way that just happened to involve an older investor. I didn’t go looking for it, it came to me. But I think what really changed it for me is when my own father was the victim of financial abuse. This happened a few years ago when my mom passed away. My dad went to his broker (whom he knew from church; whom he trusted immensely; and who was with a major international firm) and said, “Now that my wife has died, what do I do with my annuities?” Well, the broker actually called the annuity company to find out what my dad’s options were – and then proceeded to lie to my dad about that. The broker essentially gave my dad advice that was in the broker’s best interest because it generated a lot more commissions for the broker, to the detriment of my dad.

Now, how do we know that? Because my dad hired me to represent him. We ended up suing his brokerage firm. Through the lawsuit, we were able to get taped telephone conversations in which the annuity company was actually telling the stockbroker exactly what my dad’s options were. And then, I kid you not, within an hour that broker was at my dad’s house lying to him about what his options were. And we were able to prove that because the broker left handwritten notes for my dad. We were successful in that case. We got back 100 percent of my father’s losses, plus interest, plus attorney fees.

The results described in the case or cases just discussed may not be indicative of the results you may obtain on a case that Aries Legal might handle for you. Litigation is by its nature a risky endeavor and the results are difficult to predict. There is no guarantee you will achieve a successful outcome.

What was your first securities arbitration that you handled by yourself?

My first securities arbitration was very interesting. I was probably a second or third year attorney. This was the first one I handled by myself. It was a situation where a couple that was ready to retire had found out that everything they had invested with a particular investment advisor had been lost. Now, as I’m looking at the documents, the documents are claiming that my clients had a much greater income and net worth than what they really had. And yet, my clients signed the documents. So I was very confused by that.

Well, one day a couple of months before trial, I got a phone call from somebody out of the blue who said she was the sales assistant for the broker. She was new to the industry at the time; she didn’t know this was wrong. But the broker had instructed her to change the income and net worth of my clients so that they would appear to qualify for these investments. Well that was unbelievable to get that kind of support from somebody who used to work for the broker. She agreed to testify at the arbitration hearing. And my first time out, I was able to recover 100 percent of that customer’s losses, plus interest, plus attorney fees. And I learned a lesson from that, and that is: Never trust the documents on their face because you just never know when those documents might have been modified or forged.

The results described in the case or cases just discussed may not be indicative of the results you may obtain on a case that Aries Legal might handle for you. Litigation is by its nature a risky endeavor and the results are difficult to predict. There is no guarantee you will achieve a successful outcome.