Affinity fraud is a type of investment scam which targets members of a specific group. That group shares a bond, or trait, such as race, ethnic, professional, or religious, affiliations. Often, the defendant pretends to be a part of the group. People join the group, and commit affinity fraud using various investment schemes to steal money from the victims, who are often recruited from church, or other organizations. Pyramid schemes are used, where initial investors are paid returns out of money collected from later investors, so it appears that the investment is sound and safe. Like most forms of financial fraud, affinity fraud is prohibited by both state and federal law. The SEC has prosecuted many different affinity fraud schemes – which means if you are being invested, you need to speak to our NYC affinity fraud lawyers.
In 2012, a Florida resident was sentenced to 5 years in federal prison for mail and wire fraud in connection with a Ponzi scheme targeting cuban americans. Affinity fraud is something which is difficult to prosecute, which is why having a criminal attorney on your side early in the process is crucial. If you play your cards right, you can avoid serious penalties or punishments. Often, the fraud occurs within communities – who prefer resolving the issue internally rather than using the legal system.
In some cases, affinity fraud may be prosecuted as a hate crime – if victims are targeted due to race, religion, or ethnicity. Many state laws have hate crimes which are limited to crimes of violence, so in those states financial crimes cannot be prosecuted as hate crimes.
If you are charged with affinity fraud, we encourage you to contact our New York affinity fraud attorneys. We’re available 24/7, and offer a risk free consultation. As a law firm founded by two former prosecutors, we have a unique approach to handling cases – and know when to be aggressive, and when to be diplomatic.