Hawaii Investment Loss Lawyers
Hawaii has long attracted wealthy retirees in search of nature, outdoor activities, and sun-soaked beaches. But where there are affluent snowbirds and retirement communities, fraudsters will follow. Elderly retirees must be especially watchful because seniors are more vulnerable and statistically more likely to be targeted than other groups. The State of Hawaii’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Hawaii’s state agency responsible for the regulation of securities (the “Department”), has issued warnings about investment schemes that target Hawaii’s “Kupuna,” the Hawaiian term for senior citizens.
Seniors need to be particularly wary of investment fraud because, as a group, it is more difficult to recover financial losses after one has already left the workforce. The securities fraud law firm of Malecki Law has helped numerous retirees and senior investors recover their investment losses, whether lost due to fraud or Ponzi schemes, or just general negligent management of their nest egg by an investment professional. For over 25 years, Malecki Law’s investment loss recovery lawyers have provided legal representation to senior investors victimized by financial fraud. The firm’s founder, Jenice L. Malecki, Esq. has recovered tens of millions of dollars for senior investors and retirees, and is a passionate advocate for serving the underrepresented, in particular senior victims of financial abuse. This is an area that has held continued focus by national regulators such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as well as state regulators like the Securities Enforcement Branch of Hawaii’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.
Hawaii’s Securities Enforcement Branch does not frequently bring enforcement actions against any major brokerage houses, but does appear to be active in trying to educate its citizens through its Investor Education Program, which “remind[s] Hawaii investors to be vigilant and wary of scammers who may seek to capitalize on the financial devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, using fear and emotions to try and take your hard-earned money.” This comes in the wake of several statewide Ponzi schemes that have victimized Hawaii residents, including one by the name of the “Loom” or “Octagon Game,” which has circulated on various social media sites. Hawaii’s regulator has warned investors that they should contact the Securities Enforcement Branch if they have been solicited.
While it is encouraging that securities regulators try to go after wrongdoers or educate its residents, as above, it reveals the limits of relying on a state agency or any other regulator to make oneself whole after being defrauded. Generally speaking, however, victims of financial fraud who seek to be made whole cannot solely rely on the outcome of a regulatory investigation. Regulatory investigations are long, opaque processes, which can take years, making them nearly impossible to know how (or if) they are proceeding towards eventual prosecution of the wrongdoer, let alone restitution towards the victims. Regulatory investigations rarely prosecute the full time period of the violations that occurred, meaning victims expecting restitution may only receive a small fraction of their losses that occurred during the narrower time period investigated by the regulator. Regulators want the “easy” win, so they will cut the time period for the violations if that happens to be where the best available evidence is. This is why it is critical for investors who have been victimized to additionally seek counsel from securities arbitration lawyers and an experienced, investment loss recovery law firm to explore pursuit of a parallel civil lawsuit against the financial institution or wrongdoer in question.
Regulatory investigations typically seek documents and cooperation from investor victims, but they usually do not return the favor by sharing documents in return regarding other investors who may have suffered similar losses – this is important because there is power in numbers. One investor losing money can be construed by defense counsel as an “isolated” event to a fact finder, such as a court or arbitration panel. Having facts that support two or more victimized investors, however, starts to point to evidence of a scheme and broader wrongdoing, giving the investor a better chance to prevail at trial. Since most retail securities disputes can be resolved faster than any regulatory investigation – i.e., it is possible to file and receive an award within 12 to 15 months of filing a FINRA Arbitration, the forum where most retail securities disputes take place.
Elderly investors who file in FINRA Arbitration may also qualify for expedited proceedings, and there is further extremely limited grounds for appeal in arbitration, meaning it is difficult to endlessly drag out civil proceedings in a way that can typically be done in the court system. Malecki Law is a national securities fraud law firm that has recovered tens of millions of dollars for investors from some of the largest financial firms, all brought in FINRA Arbitration. Hiring knowledgeable, investment loss recovery lawyers is the first step towards assessing one’s options for court or arbitration, as well as recovering investment money lost to negligent firm supervision or other misconduct. If you are a Hawaii retiree or Kapuna (senior) investor who has lost money in the financial markets and would like a free consultation about whether your account was properly managed, contact us at Malecki Law. Many of our clients choose a contingency fee arrangement, meaning we do not get paid unless we make a financial recovery for you first.