Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Long-time insurance agent steals $1.3 million from elderly clients.

A financial advisor with more than 30 years in the business and impressive professional credentials used a Ponzi scheme to defraud elderly clients.  Kevin James’ record of customer allegations of fraud went back ten years and were available in public records only a few clicks away. 

Charles Ponzi
Indiana Secretary of State, Connie Lawson, is quoted saying, “If only one investor would have called my office or checked our online database, his scheme would have crumbled.” 

Unfortunately, few investors and even fewer members of the elderly community know how to navigate the Secretary of State, Dept. of Insurance or the regulator’s websites.  They need basic simple instructions on how to look up a financial advisor’s license and past deeds.

Some fraudsters offer investment “schemes which have no more basis than so many feet of blue sky.”  This language was cited in a Supreme Court case over a hundred years ago and thus the term “blue sky” regulations came into use.  Investment scams haven’t changed much since then. 
Kevin James lived the high life a block away from Geist; kids went to private school, he belonged to a country club and had Colts season tickets.  Last fall he went away to federal prison for ten years. 

A Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant, Mr. Kevin James operated an investment company called Financial Security Investments and promised high returns.  He deposited clients checks to his personal account and used the funds to finance his lifestyle. 

His investment company did not exist, and he had never registered his Financial Security Program with regulators.  However, he was well known by regulators.

According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) records, in 1996 James was fired by an insurance company.  Also, in 1996, a customer alleged misrepresentation and was given a refund.  A year later, in 1997, he was fined by the National Association of Securities Dealers.  Next, in 2007, his employer reported an alleged $500,000 customer complaint to regulators.  This history was available to investors and the public only a few clicks away.  If you know where to look. 

12148 Bay Ridge Court
Strangers commit half of financial fraud against the elderly, followed by fraudsters introduced by friends, fraudsters met at church, and relatives that defraud relatives.  Check out financial advisors -- especially relatives -- that want you to invest in their latest scheme.  You may be buying “blue sky.

Kevin James, age 58, was sentenced to ten years in federal prison for securities fraud,  mail fraud, and money laundering.  His Geist home 12148 Bay Ridge Court is in forclosure.  

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