Google "investment scam + (any word)" and you'll get googles of links to articles about people who have been conned, duped, and deceived out of their life savings, oftentimes by their very own "friends."
With friends like these, who needs enemies, right?
A structured settlement would have protected this individual from becoming a casualty of this unscrupulous grifter.
Personal Injury Plaintiffs Can Be Gullible Prey
Individuals emerging from an oftentimes lengthy and grueling litigation process naturally want to gain more control over their lives.
Their eagerness to make themselves financially secure, however, leaves them vulnerable to scam artists who can dazzle them with promises but who, in reality, seek only to separate them from their newfound wealth.
Large personal injury awards represent the greatest amount of money most people will ever see at one time. And typically, inexperience in how best to ensure their award lasts as long as they do can leave them susceptible to nefarious hustlers, some of whom are quite skilled at appearing legitimate.
For those inclined to invest in registered securities with the cash portion of their settlement, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) provides this helpful link as a public service:
Structured settlement brokers (who are regulated by the state departments of insurance) won't typically be registered with FINRA or any similar regulatory body unless they, too, sell and market registered securities.
Most do not. We do not.
That said, because of our firm's commitment to full transparency and to help allay any client anxiety about financial professional legitimacy, we support voluntary, public Certified Background Checks
with the National Ethics Association for structured settlement brokers.
Attorney Duty to Advise
For their part, plaintiff attorneys should always make their clients aware of the tax implications of any settlement or verdict.
Unless their firm also specializes in advising on tax matters, however, attorneys should instruct clients to seek out appropriate pre-and-post-settlement tax counsel to ensure an optimal outcome.
Though rare, law firms have been sued for legal malpractice for failure to take tax consequences of a verdict or settlement into consideration.