Seemingly trustworthy people are not always so.
Think of people of great influence.
This could be a businessman, statesman, military leader, or credentialed professional.
They seem trustworthy.
They have had good reputations.
Everything appears fine on the surface.
People are not always what they seem.
According to a recent Think Advisor article titled “Megachurch Pastor, Banned Broker Nabbed for Defrauding Elderly Churchgoers,” the Securities and Exchange Commission recently brought charges reinforcing this reality.
Kirbyjon Caldwell, the senior pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston and a self-described financial planner named Gregory Alan Smith, targeted elderly investors from 2013 to 2014 in a scam involving Chinese bonds.
These pre-Revolutionary Chinese bonds may be collector memorabilia for some, but they have no investment value.
Caldwell and Smith claimed they were worth millions.
They were successful in scamming about $3.4 million from about 30 individuals.
The SEC also brought charges against attorney Shae Yatta Harper for aiding them in their underhanded scheme.
Could this have been avoided?
Smith had been disciplined by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in 2010 after mishandling investor funds.
Caldwell used his influence and reputation to secure the trust of the victims.
Exercise caution whenever investment information seems too good to be true.
Getting a second or third opinion would be a wise move.
It could save you and others from becoming victims of fraud.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: Think Advisor (March 30, 2018) “Megachurch Pastor, Banned Broker Nabbed for Defrauding Elderly Churchgoers”