You trusted an investment professional to take care of your finances so you could live your life in Fort Lauderdale, FL, with one less thing to worry about. Unfortunately, you found out the hard way that your trust was violated when you learned that you were the victim of investment fraud at the hands of the investment professional. First, don’t assume that you’ve lost your money, and second, contact an investment fraud lawyer in Fort Lauderdale as soon as possible.
Time is of the essence to try and recover what was taken from you. Investment fraud is often complex and takes time to unravel. An investment fraud lawyer can evaluate your situation and determine the best course of action to take in order to resolve the situation in your favor. The sooner you act, the better your chances are of getting your money back.
Steps to Take After Discovering Investment Fraud
The best course of action to take after you’ve learned you’ve been the victim of a wrongdoer is to call a lawyer. However, you should take the following steps to help you stop further losses and protect yourself against actions that the financial professional may take to convince you they’re being honest. The goal is to stop your losses and recover your money, so you’re not completely out of pocket.
Stop Paying Money to The Financial Professional
Now is the time to protect your money by canceling automatic transfers, and don’t send money manually if the financial professional asks. The goal is to avoid further losses and keep your cash handy for personal needs.
Contact A Lawyer
Now is the time to contact a financial fraud lawyer to help you find out what your options are going forward. A lawyer that focuses on financial fraud will look at the elements of your case and determine if there’s an actual case of fraud, how it happened, and what steps to take next.
Collect Your Financial Documents And Related Paperwork
Get all of your financial documents together, print out anything that you don’t have a physical copy of, and put everything into a folder. This is so you can present your proof of fraud to a financial fraud lawyer. The lawyer will look over the information and determine if you have a case of financial fraud and take the appropriate action. The documents will act as evidence that you have been defrauded by your broker in some way.
How a Lawyer Helps You Recover Your Money
The money you lost to fraud isn’t necessarily gone for good. A financial fraud lawyer can represent you in front of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and other governing bodies for the financial industry and engage in the arbitration to recover your money. Here’s a look at how recovering money from fraudulent activities works.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
FINRA is an independent authority that’s authorized by the U.S. government to test, qualify, and license brokers, ensure that brokers engage in honest advertising and that brokers sell securities that are appropriate for the client’s needs. The authority also ensures that investors get full disclosure about an investment product before they purchase it. The overall purpose of FINRA is to hold brokers to a high standard of practice and give investors confidence in their brokers and the market in general. That’s why FINRA takes allegations of investment fraud very seriously.
Most brokerage firms are part of FINRA along with their employees. This is to ensure that the firm and its brokers are ethical, follow financial laws and regulations, and are honest with its clients and the public at large. The public is more likely to work with a licensed broker than an unlicensed one as a result of the perception of honesty that comes with licensing. When a licensed brokerage or broker commits fraud or unknowingly engages in activity that causes a client to lose money, they’re held liable by FINRA. A client can take their dispute to FINRA and ask to recover the money they lost through FINRA’s Dispute Resolution Services.
FINRA Dispute Resolution Services
FINRA uses arbitration and mediation to resolve disputes between investors, individual brokers, and brokerage firms. An investor who has lost money from a broker/brokerage can file a claim for the loss and start the arbitration or mediation process. All firms that are licensed through FINRA require their clients to sign a document that states that all disputes are to be arbitrated by FINRA instead of court.
Arbitration and mediation through FINRA tend to be faster than litigation and can help you recover your losses sooner than if you had gone to court. Cases brought before FINRA’s Dispute Resolution Services take about a year to come to completion and require less evidence. The case is heard by a single arbitrator or a panel of three, depending on the circumstances. You can retain an investment fraud attorney to represent you in front of the arbitrator(s) and make a case for restitution on your behalf.
You’re allowed to ask for financial damages on top of requesting the amount of money you lost. In the event the arbitrators decide in your favor, you can recover more than your initial loss. The broker or brokerage is also required to pay you the award within 30 days of the decision made by the arbitrator(s). It’s worth noting that the decision made by the arbitrator(s)
Unlicensed Firms Require A Different Approach
Unfortunately, not every financial planning and investment firm is licensed by FINRA. It’s harder to recover money from an unlicensed firm, but not impossible. Getting your money back typically requires the filing of a lawsuit by a financial fraud attorney and can take years to resolve. This is why investors should always work with a licensed broker, as it minimizes the risk of financial loss, along with having a mechanism that helps you recover money if fraud is involved.
Contact the Wolper Law Firm in Fort Lauderdale, FL, for Help
If you feel that you’ve been the victim of investment fraud, call us to speak to a lawyer about your situation. We can schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers. They’ll talk with you about the situation and look at the facts of your case. Afterward, we can look at your options for recourse and which one makes the most sense for you. We have handled hundreds of cases related to financial fraud, and our lawyers will fight hard on your behalf to help you recover what you thought was lost forever.