Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions
New Law Enhances Penalties for Investment Fraud Against Senior Citizens
FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 15, 2010) – Investment scams that target senior citizens are now subject to more strict penalties as Senate Bill 130 takes effect today. Sen. Tom Buford sponsored the Kentucky Department of Financial Institution’s (DFI) legislation that passed during the 2010 General Assembly.
The bill was primarily a housekeeping measure to better organize and clarify the existing statute governing securities. However, one section enhances public protection for seniors. The bill sets fine limits of $20,000 per violation of the securities law, but authorizes the fine to be doubled when violations target or hurt those who are 60 or older.
“Seniors are the No. 1 target for investment fraud, and this abuse cannot be tolerated,” said DFI Securities Division Director Shonita Bossier. “By making the fines more substantial for securities fraud against seniors, we hope to deter these violations from taking place. When violations are found, the fines will be used to help the department prevent future abuses against seniors and the investing public.”
To further that purpose, the bill establishes a securities fraud prosecution and prevention fund where fines can be deposited. The funds can be used to assist in criminal prosecution of fraud, for training and equipment related to prevention, detection and investigation of securities fraud, and for investor education.
In addition to issuing licenses and registrations to securities individuals and firms and conducting examinations, DFI’s Securities Division also investigates complaints and provides educational outreach.
Investors are encouraged to call DFI at 800-223-2579 to make sure the investment and person selling it are licensed or registered in Kentucky. Investors can also call to ask about the complaint history of a broker or investment adviser, to file a complaint or to report suspected fraud. For more information on how to save, invest and avoid fraud, visit www.kfi.ky.gov/public/invest.htm.
DFI is an agency in the Public Protection Cabinet. It supervises the financial services industry by examining, chartering, licensing and registering various financial institutions, securities firms and professionals operating in Kentucky. DFI’s mission is to serve Kentucky residents and protect their financial interests by maintaining a stable financial industry, continuing effective and efficient regulatory oversight, promoting consumer confidence, and encouraging economic opportunities.