A middle aged couple contacted their financial advisor to buy tax-exempt AAA bonds for themselves, the husband’s elderly mother, and their children. Their advisor recommended bonds that were best described as ‘toxic waste’. He told the couple that they were very safe, and just as secure as AAA bonds. They lost their entire investment.
Result: The investors recovered the entire amount they invested plus their attorneys fees.
A nurse inherited a modest amount of money, which she intended to use to buy a rental property. Her tax advisor convinced her to invest the money into a classic "Ponzi" scheme where funds collected from new investors are used to pay previous investors. Although their was no real underlying value, the advisor told her the investment was very safe, and would provide her with a guaranteed income, and the return of 100% of her principal. She lost everything when the Ponzi scheme collapsed.
Result: The customer recovered her entire investment, plus prejudgment interest and punitive damages.
A major Northern California company sought to downsize by offering their employees early retirement packages. Financial advisors holding themselves out as “Retirement Specialists” were allowed access to the company premises to give presentations and meet with prospective retirees. Dozens of retirees allege that they were convinced by these advisors to take early retirement and/or cash out their pensions, based upon promises of a lifetime income stream that would exceed their pensions, and provide for a secure retirement. Their pension funds were invested into variable annuities. They each lost all or most of their retirement money.
Result: More than 30 cases settled for confidential amounts. Several more related cases are pending.
A financial advisor recommended high risk technology stocks and Initial Public Offerings to investors who were retired, or near retirement. The investors lost the entire amount they had invested.
Result: Multiple related cases settled for confidential amounts
A young man inherited a substantial amount of money. He invested it with a small local brokerage firm at the height of the stock market boom. He lost it all, while his broker made more than $ 1 million in commissions.
Result: An award of 1.1 million to the investor.