You finally sold your home in the worst housing market the country has seen in decades, and you're never going to buy another one. You're looking for a safe investment and finally find someone you like to help you.
Time to relax, right? Wrong, if your investment adviser happened to be Richard Bernstein, whom authorities have arrested in Nevada on charges of securities fraud and felony theft.
"Consumers must research carefully any investment opportunity they are considering," said Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto in a statement in conjunction with his arrest. "Scammers are only too happy to take money from unwary investors."Bernstein allegedly swindled a married couple out of $250,000 after they consulted him on how to invest profits from the sale of their home, Masto said. Bernstein, who represented himself as an executive and life coach, recommended that the couple invest in a new business venture called Turn-Key Financial Group, to be headed by none other than Bernstein.
The state alleges Bernstein made a number of misrepresentations to convince the victims to invest their money. Bernstein told them he would personally match their investment in Turn-Key and that all the money the victims invested would be used to pay business expenses, Masto said.
Instead, Bernstein invested none of his own money and spent about $125,000 of the victims' funds for his personal use, including purchasing Bentley and BMW luxury automobiles for himself and his wife, Masto said.
Before investing, consumers are urged to contact the securities office in their state and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to see if the firm they're considering working with is registered. Always do research and make sure you understand the investment, especially if it's a new company.
Don't be swayed by flowery promises or conned by big words and technical-sounding phrases. See the SEC's ""High Yields' and Hot Air" for information on how to protect yourself as an investor.
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