There are a number of common signs that we may see when someone is engaged in financial fraud within a company. Tracy talks about the behavioral red flags for fraud in this video, which are also summarized below:
How do you know if you’re considering investing in a Ponzi scheme? The promoters will never come out and tell you they are running a pyramid scheme, so the investors have to be smart enough to recognize them on their own. The good news is it is easy to spot a Ponzi scheme.
Now I don’t mean that it’s easy to prove in a court of law that something is a Ponzi scheme. In a civil or criminal case, there are certain standards of proof that need to be met. But you’re not a court. You’re simply an investor. Whether you have $10,000 to invest or $10 million to invest, your money is probably pretty important to you.
More than two years ago, I mentioned here a news story about a Ponzi scheme called Tri Energy Inc. The Securities and Exchange Commission first took action against the company in 2005:
The Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday obtained a temporary restraining order, an asset freeze, and other emergency relief, in a civil action filed against several individuals and entities alleged to be perpetrating an ongoing affinity fraud and Ponzi scheme. According to the Complaint, defendants have defrauded hundreds of investors of over $12 million by promising returns of 100% or more within 60 days. The Complaint alleges that defendants have been telling investors that these extraordinary profits were to be generated in part by helping an unnamed Saudi Arabian prince move gold from Israel through Luxembourg to the United Arab Emirates. In reality, according to the Complaint, although some money has been paid out to investors, these funds appear to have come from new investor money, and substantial amounts of investor funds have been transferred to bank accounts controlled by the proposed defendants and relief defendants.
Top Ten Red Flags for Fraud at Pre-Paid Legal Services Inc. (NYSE:PPD). The company is clearly on a decline, with recruitment numbers suffering and overall memberships.
Here are some of the more interesting points in the report: