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Mark Krudys
Mark Krudys
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Some Financial Advisors Prey on Veterans

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According to the Wall Street Journal, veterans who hire financial advisors to assist them in receiving military benefits are at risk for abuse.  These financial advisors are accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of General Counsel.  Attorneys, veteran service organization employees, financial planners and others are all eligible to apply for such a position.  However, the lack of educational and occupational requirements for these advisors threatens the financial stability of the veterans who seek their guidance in acquiring military benefits.  Additionally, the veterans’ Office of General Counsel does not review the moral character of or the knowledge of the individuals who are accredited.  In an investigation done by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), various problems were found with these financial advisors, ranging from incompetency to unethical behavior, including the improper sale of annuities to assist veterans in claiming pensions.  From this investigation, the GAO has recommended re-vamping the accreditation program through hiring more staff, acquiring information-technology resources, as well as enhancing initial and continuing education requirements for potential and accredited financial advisors.  The GAO has also recommended addressing the ever-rising threats to veterans before they fall victim to such abuse.

Veterans who have claims against licensed stockbrokers are almost always required to bring their claims before Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration panels.  Typical claims against stockbrokers made in FINRA arbitrations involve the purchase of unsuitable securities and misrepresentations and/or material omissions in connection with the sale of securities.

I began my legal career in the Marine Corps. Upon completing my military service, I was an attorney in the Enforcement Division of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, where I investigated and litigated civil violations of the federal securities laws.  After the SEC, I served as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami and Ft.  Lauderdale, where I was  assigned to the Securities Fraud Unit.  In private practice, I have represented a major brokerage firm.  For the past 13 years, I have concentrated on representing investors.  In my many years of litigating securities fraud cases, I have encountered many excellent securities attorneys and financial advisors.

Veterans who suspect that they have possible claims against their financial advisor should seek out an attorney who is  experienced in handling such claims.  In seeking experienced counsel, veterans should look into the background and experience of eaah prospetive attorney to learn if he or she has ever worked for a federal or state securities regulator and how many investor claims he or she has litigated.