Investment Fraud Lawyers: Investment Fraud, Pyramid Scheme, Ponzi Scheme or Rip-Deals: Law Experts Attorneys Represent Your Interests
Speak to an Investment Fraud Lawyer: If a fraudulent financial advisor harmed you, we may be able to help
Law Experts Attorneys have been specializing in this field for many years and boast a wealth of experience in the practice of corporate law, procedural law, criminal law and the prosecution of white collar crimes. Through the ongoing representation of victims of fraud and parties who have sustained damages as a result of these crimes, we have acquired the know-how it takes to pursue perpetrators of investment fraud in the most effective manner and to recover any remaining assets. We strongly focus on e.g. freezing bank accounts or other assets in order to recover funds on behalf of our clients.
The term “White Collar Crime” covers a broad spectrum of illegal activities: Corporate Fraud, Investment Fraud, Pyramid Schemes, Ponzi scheme, Rip-Deals
In the English language terms like “business crime” or “corporate crime”, which would be the literal translations for the German term “Wirtschaftskriminalität”, are not often used. The term “white collar crime” is far more common. It actually defines these types of crimes in a way that speaks for itself. The term “white collar crime” can principally be used to describe any form of crime that is related to business or corporate activities. Consequently, as a rule, most crimes committed in the world of commerce have in common that the principle of trust business transactions are based upon is abused. Hence, the list of offenses is long.
Some examples of frequently perpetrated white collar crimes are listed below:
- Investment fraud
- Ponzi and pyramid schemes
- Oil, gas and energy scams
- Capital investment fraud (prospectus fraud) and Hedge fund fraud
- Asset related fraud, stock market speculation fraud, embezzlement in conjunction with capital investment transactions, insider trading
- Credit fraud, loan brokerage fraud, money laundering crimes
- Bankruptcy fraud, fraudulent preferential treatment of creditors, delays in filing insolvency petitions
- Employment agency fraud; fraud related to social security contributions, insurance premiums, etc.
- Criminal breach of non-compete agreements, crimes against competitors, criminal betrayal of business or company secrets/confidential information
There is no doubt that globalization and the international engagement of commerce have resulted in the steady increase of the number of white collar crimes committed and the amounts of damages caused. The complex, international aspects of these fraudulent acts frequently make it extremely difficult to capture the offenders. Consequently, those who represent the victims have to have a high level of expertise in the field.
“Classic” Investment Fraud – From Pyramid to Ponzi schemes
Eras of record low interest rates and times when lucrative investment options that are also legitimate are extremely hard to find provide the perfect breeding ground for investment fraud. The categories of crimes associated with the term investment fraud comprise a virtually infinite number of scams and acts of deceit. One characteristic all investment fraud crimes have in common is that the criminals trick one or several investors into making an “investment” by offering interesting returns or high interest rates. So-called pyramid schemes and systems that have been devised from the former are quite well represented in this category.
The term “pyramid scheme” refers to types of investments that in order to work and keep the scheme going have to recruit a constantly growing number of members and thus collect more and more membership fees. Profits disbursed to the existing participants are generated almost exclusively from the investments made by new participants who do not receive any services or products in return.
As a rule, pyramid schemes work as long as the system attracts plenty of new participants. As soon as new member recruitment declines or dries up completely, for instance because of negative reports about the respective scheme in the media, the system eventually collapses. In most cases, those who have not made it to the top of the pyramid are the ones left behind to cope with the damages.
Another widely used type of investment scams is the so-called Ponzi scheme, named for Charles Ponzi, an American swindler. This form of deceit is based on the promise of very high returns on financial investments, which usually only exist on paper. These extremely exaggerated returns appear to be plausible to investors at first because returns are actually disbursed to them. This approach often generates more business for the fraudulent scheme through word of mouth solicitation and allows it to expand, since the investors interpret the disbursement of their profits as evidence that the investment is actually producing. However, given that the promised, usually absurdly high returns cannot actually be earned, the scheme will continue to exist only as long as new investors can be brought on board to fund the ongoing disbursement. The system collapses as soon as a larger number of investors attempt to withdraw their investments.
Sometimes the terms pyramid and Ponzi scheme are used as equivalents. However, there is one decisive difference between these two types of fraud: The founder of Ponzi scheme directly approaches or contacts prospective investors to solicit their “investments.” Hence, participants in Ponzi schemes know who the founder of the system is. The pyramid scheme, on the other hand, is aptly described by its name since most of the new members initially do not know who the founder at the top of the pyramid actually is. One characteristic both systems share is that the number of participants has to grow exponentially to prevent the scheme from collapsing. Another fact that applies to both is that the profits disbursed to existing participants are founded by the contributions made by new participants.
“Rip-deals” – Advance Payment Fraud with Terrible Consequences
The term “rip-deal” says it all: This type of fraud is based on transactions that rip investors off. True to their name, these deals usually result in the perpetration of crimes such as fraud, robbery and theft.
As a rule, “rip-deals” are fraudulent currency exchange transactions or purchase inquiries. The perpetrators pretend to be lenders or buyers. The patterns they use to initiate and handle these transactions are often quite similar. First, they hook their victims by promising high profits or lucrative transactions. Anticipating a profitable transaction, their targets are subsequently bamboozled out of their money during the cash handover. With the concealed objective of gaining the potential victim’s trust, an exchange of small amounts – a quasi “trial deal” - frequently precedes the principal transaction.
These criminals often contact individuals who offer real estate or other property of substantial value, such as jewelry or artwork, online or in classified ads. They may also get in touch with those seeking investments. By frequently contacting their victims, the latter are frequently under the impression that they are actually talking to a prospective buyer who is willing to pay the full amount without even making an attempt to bring down the price. In most cases, the scammers feign interest in the property to be purchased to entice the advertisers to come to Northern Italy, but also to France, Spain, Turkey or the Benelux nations, where the swindlers will usually meet them in a luxury hotel. During the meeting, the criminals reveal that they are no longer interested in the originally offered object. Instead, they offer their victims a lucrative currency exchange deal; frequently involving conversions from EUR into CHF. The reasoning used to justify the transaction, which is obviously a “loss” for the scammer, is that the money was obtained illegally or is black market cash.
You should have misgivings if any of the following scenarios applies to a business opportunity offered to you:
- The potential profits you are offered seem unrealistically high or the alleged prospective buyer willingly accepts the purchase price you offer and does not try to negotiate.
- Someone offers you a one-to-one currency exchange deal, although the person who offers it would sustain extreme losses as a result.
- A false sense of urgency is created to get you to make a decision as quickly as possible.
- Your counterpart suggests to meet at a public location (frequently in a luxurious setting) for the handover of the cash; especially one in a foreign jurisdiction.
- The place and time of the meeting are changed shortly before the previously arranged meeting.
- Prospective buyers share only a cell phone number (prepaid cards) and/or one e-mail address with you.
- Callers claim that they are just agents for potential foreign buyers. They tell you that the actual prospective buyer is currently unable to travel to the destination where the property to be purchase is located. Hence, the transaction allegedly has to be completed abroad.
Law Experts Attorneys will help you identify investment scams or so-called “rip-deals” early-on and will assist you with the proper, professional and secure handling of planned sales to both, Austrians and foreign buyers. We provide comprehensive advice as to the security of planned sales and will walk you through the initial contact phase as well as the closing of your sale or your transactions.
Your Investment Fraud Attorneys and White Collar Crime Specialists: Law Experts Attorneys Mag. Gamsjäger and Dr. Wiesflecker
Law Experts Attorneys will represent you should you ever become the victim of fraud. Please do not hesitate to contact us for a consultation without any obligation at your end. Thanks to our expertise and experience, you will have the peace of mind of knowing that everything will be done to keep the damages incurred at an absolute minimum.
- Upon graduation from law school and after completing his internship at the District Court Telfs, the District Court Kitzbühel and the Innsbruck Circuit Court for Criminal Matters, attorney Mag. Gamsjäger specialized in administrative criminal law, the prosecution of white collar crimes and general criminal law. Moreover, he held the position of legal apprenticeship consultant with the State of Tyrol, the District Director’s Office in Innsbruck and of certified administrative judicial consultant in the Village of Telfs. Consequently, Mag. Gamsjäger maintains an excellent relationship and network of contacts with government agencies and the courts. As an attorney who has completed the best educational programs, Mag. Gamsjäger also has many years of experience as an attorney. As a criminal defense attorney he has brought numerous trials to a successful conclusion for his clients.
- Over the course of his career as a legal counsel in Vienna and subsequently Tyrol, attorney Dr. Wiesflecker successfully handled highly publicized fraud cases that involved millions of Euros in damages, multiple countries and international media coverage. Not only were the criminals prosecuted and sentenced as a result of his work; the fraud victims also received millions of Euros in restitution. Thanks to the fact that he worked for renowned, internationally engaged corporate law firms for many years and specializes in international business as well as contract and civil law, Dr. Hannes Wiesflecker possesses both, the respective expertise and wealth of experience to deploy the required know-how in every case he handles.
The Law Experts Attorneys Team will assist you as your legal counsel in all of Austria, in cooperation with our partner firms we provide you with legal advice worldwide. We guarantee that you legal matter will be handle exclusively by qualified experts.
Law Experts Attorneys have international experience and offices in Innsbruck (main office), Telfs and Vienna (consulting offices). Our partner network will help you find and implement the optimum solution for your case or project.
A brief overview of our law firm’s services:
- Preventative work and legal advice related to potential fraud cases in the domestic and international context
- Representation of your rights immediately after knowledge of an act of fraud or in the investigative phase
- Early evaluation of the cash flow and of potential options, if any, or remedying the damages or financial restitution
- Freeze of bank accounts and other assets in order to recover funds
- Reporting of facts to the prosecutor on your behalf as the victim
- Professional representation and advocacy for your rights in fraud cases with law enforcement, the internal revenue service, the prosecution and before the courts
- Representation of your rights in the main trial before the competent courts, representation of private parties involved in in victim protection matters
- International cooperation with partner law firms and private detectives
- Representation in civil trials aiming at the restitution of damages