Secretary of State Robin Carnahan’s Office spearheaded a measure that increases penalties for financial fraud in the Senior Investor Protection Act. The legislature approved the bill and Governor Nixon has signed it into law.
Carnahan says the measure also allows the state to order restitution — something no other securities regulator in the country has the ability to do.
She says fraud is on the rise. Carnahan says in 2008, her office fielded more than 2,000 calls on its investor protection hotline, a 20 percent increase over any previous year.
She says the protection act establishes a $50,000 penalty against those who commit financial fraud against seniors or the disabled.
Carnahan has recovered nearly $10 billion dollars for thousands of investors.
Carnahan says the new measure also allows for mandatory restitution payments and additional civil penalties.
"Since taking office, I have targeted financial scam artists who prey on seniors and worked to get restitution for victims of financial fraud," Carnahan says. "This new law is a victory for Missourians who are vulnerable to financial scams because it will increase significantly the protections they have."
Carnahan’s office reports the following statistics for fraud complaints:
· We received 807 calls to our investor protection hotline from Jan-May of this year. We received 533 calls over that same time period in 2008.
· In 2008, we fielded a record 2,076 calls on our investor protection hotline, a 20% increase over the previous record for a full year.
· In 2008, we received 460 formal complaints (for comparison, we received 301 in 2007).
· Through today, we’ve received 242 formal complaints in 2009, which puts on pace for well over 400 complaints again this year.
· In 2008, 62 percent of the complaints were converted into investigations.
· In 2009, we’ve converted 69 percent of complaints into investigations.
To report fraud or for more, visit the Secretary of State’s Web page on the new protections.