What are my options if my father has been a victim of fraud?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
Worried in ohio asked...

My 86 year old father keeps investing money in a scheme that I feel is fraud. He has been very secretive about how much money he's invested, but I recently discovered it's almost $20,000 over the last 2 1/2 years. He is borrowing money and doing without to give this man money. He has hopes of making millions, but has yet to see the first dollar. He has been sold a bill of goods. This guy has him believing that he has the potential to revolutionize the car industry by selling a kit to modify engines to get 100 miles a gallon. With gas prices so high, my dad believes this will be a sure thing. Dad has no paper trail, no receipts for the money, nothing in writing saying he is a partner or investor. Should I call the sheriff or just confront this guy on my own (with the help of my husband an brothers) What do I do?????

Expert Answers

Steve Weisman hosts the nationally syndicated radio show A Touch of Grey, heard on more than 50 stations, including WABC in New York City and KRLA in Los Angeles. He is a practicing lawyer specializing in estate planning and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. He's a public speaker and commentator who has appeared on many radio and television shows throughout the country, and he's the legal editor of Talkers magazine, the preeminent trade publication of talk radio. His latest book is The Truth About Avoiding Scams.

So long as your father is competent, he has the right to make his own decisions although I share your extreme concern with what certainly appears to be a scam. Scam artists often prey upon seniors. Your best course of action is to try to convince your father to let you help him research the investment and the person who is selling it to him. You should also contact the local district attorney's consumer affairs office and the office of the state attorney general to see if this particular type of scam has been reported and to see if there are any complaints against the person selling the investment to your father.