Archive for the financial abuse Category

Because you need donuts when you are torching a building to save lives

Thomas Downey had just been released from prison and needed a meeting. He also needed donuts.

The story is here.

Keep Coming Back! (bring your checkbook)

Investment Scam Crackdown Nets Hundreds of Criminal, Civil Cases

Brion Randall, a former Merrill Lynch broker, ran what authorities claim was an “affinity” scam in Dallas, using ties from social groups to raise about $6 million in investment capital from 30 investors. He said that by pooling special Chase Bank and AllianceBernstein accounts the deal would bring returns of 7 percent tax-free. No accounts ever existed, and Randall received a 15-year prison term in September after pleading guilty to wire and bank fraud in May.

Shirley Whitfield, 74, a retired special-ed teacher form Richardson, told reporters that she lost her $320,000 “nest egg” to Randall.

Apart from the financial loss, Whitfield said she felt bitterly betrayed by Randall, whom she had known for years as a fellow active member of Alcoholics Anonymous. “I lost more than money,” she said. “I am very angry.”

But unlike many Ponzi scammers, Randall did not promise extraordinary rates of return. Told she’d get a relatively modest 7 percent return, Whitfield said she only became suspicious when an attorney drawing up her will asked her to verify the bank account. The bank had no record of the account, and Whitfield’s monthly statements were fake.

Pat Savage, 63, a McKinney nurse, said she and her four adult children invested with Randall, whom they had known for 20 years, considering him a mentor and “member of the family.”

Savage said she lost the most — her entire life’s savings of $105,000 — to Randall, who operated a home theater business and financial consulting firm. “I am working two jobs to get out of debt now.”

When her eldest son pulled all of his $25,000 from one of Randall’s accounts to play the stock market, the rest of the family thought he was foolish. He ended up the only one with any money left, Savage said.