Texas Securities Fraud: Insurance Agent Could Get 100 Years Behind Bars for Using Fraudulent Annuities to Bilk Elderly Seniors of Over $5M

A 76-year-old Amarillo insurance agent has pleaded guilty to 15 counts of Texas securities fraud over the sale of bogus investments and unregistered securities that resulted in over $5 million in losses for primarily elderly investors. The Texas State Securities Board won’t sentence John F. Langford until next month, but he faces up to 100 years in prison for running this Ponzi scam.

Meantime, Langford’s business partner, Jimmy Don King, has been indicted on 10 criminal counts, including selling securities despite not having a license, selling unregistered securities, and acting as an agent/dealer but without the appropriate registration. King was the voice and face of Langford & Associates’ commercials on TV and commercials guaranteeing “not to make you poor.” (Langford also did business as Langford Funding and Langford Investments.)

The two men came under suspicion after an elderly woman sued them for securities fraud. She said that they persuaded her to invest $941,756 in private annuities. Later, a court found that the woman who suffered from dementia had been incompetent and therefore wasn’t fit to make a decision about whether investing in bogus annuities that weren’t going to be due until her 90’s-a decade from when she signed on-was a good decision to make.

Many investors gave Langford their life savings in exchange for the promise of windfalls over several years. While private annuities were supposed to pay out up to 8%, promissory notes were supposed to pay out 9%. Langford paid King 5% of the investments. Investors’ money were used to pay for principal payments to prior investors, interest, as well as Langford’s personal expenses.

According to state documents that were confiscated from his office, the insurance firm had a negative cash flow. Between 2005 and 2007 Langford’s property business never made over $10,000. Documents showed that he owed investors over $1 million.

Because Langford filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection two years ago, many investors have had to file their claims in bankruptcy court. Claims there have totaled approximately $7 million.

Investment Fraud Against Seniors

Unfortunately there are professionals out there determined to bilk investors of their life savings. Elderly seniors, who may not be as alert or as informed as younger investors, are a prime target of financial scammers wishing to make a quick buck without regard to how victims are impacted.

According to the American Association of Retired Persons, persons over the age of 50 are easy targets for financial abuse because they:

• Expect that they will be dealt with honestly • Are less likely to act when defrauded • Are not as familiar with their rights in regard to the marketplace • May have certain health issues, such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia that can allow them to be more easily duped than other people
Our Texas stockbroker fraud lawyers have seen the devastation that can be wreaked on the lives of elderly investors who’ve watched their retirement money disappear because they trusted people who purposely scammed them. There may be a way to recoup your investment losses.

Related Web Resources:

Insurance agent to face 99 years in prison for selling phony annuities, Investment News, July 29, 2011
Langford signs confessions in fraud cases, Amarillo Globe-News, July 26, 2011
Elder Abuse: Financial Scams Against Seniors, Nolo
Fraud Target: Senior Citizens, FBI
For Seniors, SEC
American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)

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Accused Texas Ponzi Scammer May Have Defrauded Investors of $2M, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, August 3, 2011
Basketball Benefactor Accused of Texas Securities Fraud and Ponzi Scam that Targeted High-Profile Coaches Found Dead, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, July 19, 2011
Madoff Trustee Files Securities Lawsuit Against Safra National Bank of New York Seeking to Recover Almost $111.7M for Ponzi Scam Investors, Institutional Investors Securities Fraud, May 12, 2011