Investing your money comes with a certain amount of risk. But that risk should be at the hands of market forces, not your broker or financial adviser. Yet, all too often, innocent Americans are duped out of their life savings by dishonest and morally bankrupt people who work in the securities sector. Fortunately, some actions can be taken to punish these individuals, deter others from acting fraudulently, and recover lost compensation.
Scammer sentenced to more than 17 years behind bars
To see an example, look no further than the recent sentencing of Perry Santillo. Santillo pleaded guilty in 2019 to running a Ponzi scheme that stole more than $100 million from more than 1,000 investors, including hundreds of thousands of dollars from a man who was suffering from dementia. While his clients floundered financially, Santillo bought himself $10,000 suits, luxury vehicles, and multiple houses.
But now, the chickens have come home to roost for Santillo. He was recently sentenced to more than 17 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $100 million in restitution.
Finding accountability and recovering compensation in your case
Although criminal activity like this can extend punitive damages, it often doesn’t go far enough to make individual investors whole again. Although restitution that is ordered through a criminal case sometimes helps, it, too, can fall short. That’s why those who believe that their financial advisor or portfolio manager has cheated them should consider taking legal action.
Of course, in many of these schemes, it’s hard to recover all of the funds that were stolen. After all, much of them have been spent on intangible items, such as vacations and expensive dinners. That’s why your first step in one of these cases is to identify which assets still exist and fight to secure them. This includes cash and bank accounts, of course, but it might also include assets like houses, cars, artwork, jewelry, and other items of personal property.
What if that isn’t enough?
If going after your broker isn’t enough, then you may want to look at taking legal action against those who were closely associated with them. It’s hard to run a Ponzi scheme by yourself, so there may be people who have been tangled up in the scam that you can hold accountable. So, you may want to investigate your broker’s attorney, accountant, brokerage firm, and those investors who ended up winning big in the scheme. If you are successful in taking additional legal action against these individuals, you may be able to piece together the resources you need to make yourself whole again.
Let your voice be heard as you fight for what you deserve
Securities fraud cases are oftentimes emotionally charged, and for good reason. After all, in most cases, a lot of money has been lost, jeopardizing the investor’s future. If you’re in that situation now, you should focus on challenging your anger into your legal claim. It’s a daunting process, we know, and every step that you take can have significant ramifications for the outcome of your case.
Therefore, you need to carefully navigate the process while at the same time being aggressive enough to ensure that your voice is heard and your position is persuasive. Fortunately, it’s not a process that you have to face alone. Competent attorneys who are well-versed in holding securities fraudsters accountable for their actions stand ready to help you fight for what you deserve.