A financial fraud training for advocates

Audrey Perrott, attended a financial fraud training held by the National Center for Victims of Crime and FINRA at United Way of the Bay Area.
Published: Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Joining local community professionals, victim advocates, housing counselors and legal services attorneys on financial fraud, Consumer Action’s associate director of outreach and training, Audrey Perrott, attended a financial fraud training held by the National Center for Victims of Crime and FINRA at United Way of the Bay Area. The training was held in partnership with the San Francisco Office of Financial Education.

The April 21 training “was informative and the resources that were provided complement our MoneyWi$e identity theft and elder fraud educational modules developed in partnership with Capital One,” said Perrott.

FINRA—the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority—is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress to protect America's investors by making sure the securities industry operates fairly and honestly. The National Center for Victims of Crime is a non-profit organization that advocates for victims' rights, trains professionals who work with victims and serves as a trusted source of information on victims' issues. [https://www.victimsofcrime.org]

At the event, FINRA and Victims of Crime introduced their joint toolkit, Taking Action: An Advocate’s Guide to Assisting Victims of Financial Fraud. The guide explores accessible, vital step-by-step strategies for addressing major types of financial crime, including identity theft, investment fraud, mortgage and lending fraud and mass marketing scams. The toolkit, which includes the guide and companion materials, is available for free download or in print.

The Bay Area training provided comprehensive tools and resources for advocates to assist victims in regaining their financial footing and address the emotional trauma experienced by victims of financial fraud, said Perrott.

Jane Lee of the National Center for Victims of Crime, Susan Arthur of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation and Lori Schock of the Securities and Exchange Commission presented at the training. Sean Rooney from the California Department of Business Oversight provided information on resources available through the state government and spoke about the role of local law enforcement.

A victim of investment fraud, Ingrid Robinson provided a mesmerizing first-hand account of her travails at the hands of investment firm Remington Financial Group (aka Remington Capital). The New York Times covered Robinson’s story last year. According to the Times: “Remington led its victims—scattered around the country and the world—to believe it would either invest in their businesses or find investors for them. The would-be entrepreneurs just needed to provide upfront fees of $10,000 to $40,000, and Remington would do the rest. But the company took the money and did nothing.”

Ultimately, 1,900 investors were defrauded of more than $26 million. The firm’s founder, Andrew Bogdanoff, who pleaded guilty along with five others, was sentenced in March 2014 to 18 years in prison. Co-owner Matthew McManus was sentenced to 16 years in prison last October.

Robinson said that after being duped she made it her mission to report what happened to her to every law enforcement agency and gather victims all over the country. A full account of her ordeal can be found on a website she developed.

At the training, the trainers provided a financial fraud resource sheet that was California-specific, but also included national resources that can be found on the Victims of Crime website.

Other recommended resources included:

  • The National Network to End Domestic Violence’s (NNEDV) Moving Ahead Through Financial Management Curriculum features brochures on Ending a Financial Relationship with an Abusive Partner as well as Credit and Credit Repair.
  • The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s SmartCheck allows consumers to check the backgrounds of financial professionals and stay informed on financial fraud.

California has a plethora of resources to assist victims of financial fraud:




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