A grandmother from California who lost her entire life savings in a real estate investment scam run by an insurance agent was recently awarded upwards of $15 million. The lawsuit was against MetLife and two of its subsidiaries.
The Los Angeles Superior Court overseeing the case found the companies and a former MetLife partner were engaged in deceitful actions and securities violations, among other counts of financial elder abuse and negligence. Since the woman filed her lawsuit, 98 other people have followed her lead and taken legal action of their own. Investigations have revealed the scheme raked in $200 million from unsuspecting elderly people. Behind it was convicted felon Bruce Friedman, who died in jail in France while waiting to be extradited to the United States.
A former managing partner at MetLife regularly allowed Friedman to promote his fund during meetings about insurance sales. The woman had put $280,000 into Friedman’s Diversified Lending Group, with the promise of 12 percent returns. However, federal authorities say the program was nothing but a classic Ponzi scheme. Some early investors were indeed repaid, but the vast majority simply funded Friedman’s own lavish lifestyle. He bolted for Europe as soon as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission found out about the scam.
Various types of elder abuse
Elder abuse comes in many different forms. While physical abuse is common and very serious, just as problematic are the types of abuse that feature people in positions of trust taking advantage of an elderly person’s declining physical or mental health. In many of these cases, elderly people place their finances in the hands of people who then divert the money for their own benefit. Unfortunately, many of these cases go unreported.
If you believe an elderly relative has been taken advantage of financially, consult an experienced San Diego elder abuse lawyer at Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire right away.