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Affinity Fraud

Marketing a fraudulent investment scheme to members of an identifiable group or organization continues to be a highly successful and lucrative practice for Ponzi scheme operators and other fraudsters.  Fraudsters know that people tend to trust someone who is perceived to have a common interest, beliefs or background and use that trust to exploit members of specific groups.  The most commonly exploited are the elderly or retired, religious and ethnic groups, and the deaf community.  Members of the group often find it hard to believe that “one of their own” could be scamming them.  Consequently, affinity fraud can go unreported or when a regulator becomes involved, members of the group choose not to cooperate.  Investors should keep in mind that investment decisions should be made based on a careful evaluation of the underlying merits of the offer rather than common affiliations with the promoter.