For many retirees, the idea of spending their leisure years in Florida is a goal for which they have striven for many years. According to U.S. News & World Report’s analysis of 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data, the “Sunshine State” has the greatest proportion of people who are at least 65 (17.3%). And that doesn’t necessarily include “snowbirds” who might spend a considerable amount of the winter months in Florida away from their normal array of trusted advisers such as lawyers, investment advisers and other financial professionals who remain behind in the snow.
Whether they are new residents or snowbirds, and like many other Americans, some of Florida’s newest senior citizens probably are hoping to make some new investments to help them recover ground lost during the difficult economic times of the last five years, and that makes them extra-vulnerable to securities fraud schemes targeting the elderly. One such scheme involving the stock of two companies, Miami Beach-based Thought Development Inc. and Virgin Gaming, just resulted in two Boca Raton men being among eight defendants being charged in federal court with conspiracy to commit federal mail and wire fraud.
PalmBeachCoast.com recently reported that Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in charge of the FBI’s Miami field office are prosecuting the Boca Raton pair on charges based on what Ferrer described as “exorbitant, undisclosed commissions” and misrepresentation of the technology involved, which allegedly projected a green laser line on a football field visible in the stadium to players and fans as well as to television viewers. Ferrer and Piro also took the position that the promoters also failed to mention a pretty significant defect, which was that use of the technology posed a risk of blindness to the players.