The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is barring Jaime R. Rodriguez, an ex-HSBC Securities (HSBC) broker, in the wake of a charge accusing him of bilking an older customer, who is also legally blind, of $200K. HSBC fired Rodriguez in 2014.
Rodriguez is accused of using about $70K of the client’s money in 2012 to buy an apartment that was supposed to be for the customer. However, because the man couldn’t read or see the documents related to the purchase, he did not know that Rodriguez had named himself as the sole beneficial owner.
According to InvestmentNews, Rodriguez met the man in 2010 and began helping him with his errands. Also in 2012, Rodriguez purportedly recommended to the client that they set up a joint account together so that the then-HSBC broker could assist him in paying his bills. The account was opened using about $42K of the client’s money and at one point it held $153K.
Rodriguez then allegedly purchased another apartment using $130K of the money and named himself the sole owner again. The then-HSBC broker rented out the unit and pocketed the money.
After HSBC let him go he went to work with Capital One (COF) in 2014. Rodriguez was let go by CUSO Financial Services last year.
Senior Financial Fraud
Unfortunately, older folk and those with disabilities can be a target for those seeking to commit fraud or steal their money. A recent survey by the North American Securities Administrators Association reported that while there is now greater awareness of elder financial fraud, this doesn’t mean that the number of incidents have declined. In fact, many state regulators have seen a rise in cases and complaints. As NASAA President Mike Rothman noted, attempting to exploited a senior citizen, let alone one with an impairment, is easier than targeting younger and/or healthier victims.
NASAA reported that 12% of elder financial fraud cases involve victims with diminished capacity. Another 12% involve both older people with diminished capacity as well as third party abuse. That said, as CNBC reports, according to Professor Patricia Boyle of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago when she spoke at the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics conference, even older adults that are healthy can fall prey to this type of fraud.
A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health reports that 1 in 18 older adults that are “cognitively” intact become the victim of financial fraud, abuse, or scams each year. Also, these figures may not entirely be accurate as often victims of elder financial fraud do not report that they’ve been bilked.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now considers elder financial exploitation to be a serious public health issue. Not only does the victim’s savings account and financial security suffer, but also the stress and devastation may lead to emotional and physical health issues as well. Elder financial fraud can also take an economic and emotional toll on loved ones who must jump in to fill the loss.
Former HSBC broker barred for alleged senior scam, InvestmentNews, August 29, 2017
$36 billion might be a low estimate for this growing fraud, CNBC, August 28, 2017
Prevalence of Financial Fraud and Scams Among Older Adults in the United States: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, American Journal of Public Health, August 2017
NASAA Survey Finds That Number of Senior Financial Fraud Incidents is Growing, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, August 23, 2017