Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Affinity Fraud Runs in ALL Communities

English: Florida Division of Insurance Fraud Badge
English: Florida Division of Insurance Fraud Badge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Affinity Fraud, where a scammer works his way into a group, then scams the group, can exist with almost any group. While often the group being scammed is a church or a congregation, it could be ANY group with a common characteristic or cause.

Common characteristic could be location, religion, race, interest, hobby... even sexual orientation.

From 2005 to 2012, Mr. Elia defrauded dozens of people in Florida's gay community out of millions by claiming to have a special investment program that yields up to 26% APR, and quarterly yields up to 20%. Then he hid the assets by transferring money to entities he controlled.

Elia was arrested when he came back from Europe in April of 2012, and in September 2012 SEC brought formal fraud charges. From Forbes.com article by Bill Singer:

Ellis allegedly claimed that Elia’s investment acumen made his luxurious lifestyle possible. To further that impression, Ellis apparently engaged in  ostentatious displays of wealth, including expensive real estate, luxury cars, jewelry, opulent entertaining of his friends, and expensive cruises – all the while hiding the fact that such wealth was derived from payments from Elia  for fraudulently touting the investment scam.
Another fake it till you make it guy, darn it.

ANY group can be scammed. Don't let it be a group you're in.
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