Types-of-Securities-Fraud-Consumers-Should-Recognize-1024x552.jpg (1024×552)Usually, when consumers think of securities fraud, they imagine someone that provides misleading information about a company and the valuation of its stock. Investors outside of the trading inner-circle begin making decisions and taking actions based upon corporate misconduct. It’s as bad as it sounds.

However, securities fraud is not just limited to lies regarding stocks. It can present itself as an investment opportunity, major promise, or any other misapprehension that can unknowingly lead an investor to financial doom and gloom.

Keeping yourself informed about securities fraud is the very best defense against becoming its next victim. When your cash is all gone, you cannot get it back. Safeguard yourself by recognizing these common types of fraud listed below.

Advance Fee Schemes

The goal of this scheme is to take money from you up-front while simultaneously promising a later reward or lump sum compensation. You may be asked to make a series of advance payments for a product or service that never seems to pan out.

For example, some advance schemes involve offering the victim an interest-free loan from an offshore bank if you pay an application fee in advance. Despite every effort and guarantee, the “banker” is perpetually unable to make good on his or her promises. Any cash paid out becomes the scammer’s intended source of revenue.

Internet Fraud

Internet fraud is the act of using web services or applications to defraud victims or to otherwise gain from their misfortune. Internet criminals steal billions of dollars every year from their victims and this number only grows. Typical circumstances of Internet fraud consist of:

Insider Trading

As discussed in the beginning of this article, the most notorious kind of insider trading is the prohibited use of non-public information regarding a company’s earnings. It is essential to keep in mind that this type of fraud can be committed by virtually anyone, including, but not limited to: business executives, family, friends, or an incidental conversation in public.

For example, the CEO of a publicly-traded company unintentionally reveals his or her business’ quarterly profits while getting a haircut. If the stylist uses this information and trades on it, this is a grave, but common example of insider trading. There is also potential for SEC involvement in this situation, as well.

Boiler Rooms

A boiler room is a location or operation where high-pressure salesmen operate as a call center and pitch speculative, even deceptive, security investments. This type of fraud was named after its high-pressure technique and should be left alone by investors.

Ponzi Schemes

Named after Charles Ponzi, a trickster from the 1920’s, these types of schemes guarantee much higher rates of return to the investor than the any other competitor in the marketplace.

Basically, a Ponzi scheme takes cash from new investors in an effort to pay prior investors’ interest checks. The scheme constantly requires an influx of cash from new investors or the lie comes crashing down. Of course, this is eventually what takes place and government intervention prevails.

Safeguard Yourself and Avoid Being A Victim

In summary, there are 2 concepts you should take away from this post:

  1. Controlled, domestic securities have a lower danger of fraud than their uncontrolled and overseas equivalents. That does not mean you should put up your defenses by exclusively using regulated securities. All it implies is that the danger of financial investment fraud is lower when regulations are imposed.
  1. Your very first line of defense against securities fraud is a healthy sense of privacy. Your 2nd line of defense is a comprehensive due diligence investigation of any investments of which you are unfamiliar.

Keeping yourself informed now will help you avoid becoming a victim later. If you believe that you potentially being scammed by a thief, contact us at Aiman-Smith & Marcy. Our firm has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of consumers over the last decade. We can help you evaluate an offer or current investment situation to ensure that your interests are well-protected.

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Lisseth Bayona


Education and Background

I am a Los Angeles native and daughter of Salvadorian immigrants. From an early age, my parents instilled the value of hard work and education in me and my two siblings. Their perseverance enabled each of us to graduate from college and earn professional degrees.

My interest and commitment to workers’ rights have roots in my parents’ experiences as undocumented workers in Los Angeles. Witnessing the challenges they faced inspired me to pursue a career where I can help individuals confronted with similar struggles. To help someone in those moments is very satisfying. I love connecting with people and learning about their stories. I believe that dignity in the workplace is a right of all workers, not a convenience or privilege reserved for employees of a certain race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Legal Experience

I received my J.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) Gould School of Law. While there, I served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Patrick J. Walsh of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, where I drafted a criminal judicial opinion. Also, while at Gould, I served as an extern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. As a Criminal Division Extern, I had the opportunity to work closely with a trial team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys on a money laundering case which further sparked my interest in litigation.

Personal Interests

In my free time, I enjoy urban vegetable gardening, traveling, and spending time with my nephew and niece. I also love to spend time at San Onofre Beach learning to surf, although admittedly, I am not very good.



Hallie L. Von Rock

Attorney (SBN 233152)

Education and Background

I moved to the Bay Area from Washington after graduating high school. I had been accepted to UC Berkeley through a program where I could defer for two years while getting my California residency and attending community college, which was significant since I was paying for college on my own. I began working for Randall Aiman-Smith and Reed Marcy in 1996 as an office manager while taking night classes. My first foray into the legal world was soon after starting at the firm when I was ready to transfer to UC Berkeley. Rather than accepting my resident status, the Board of Regents took the position that California residency required a student to be in California “two calendar years.” Randall and Reed took up my case with the same verve as they helped their actual clients and I got the chance to comb through the UC Berkeley library to read their codes and regulations to support my position. In that experience, I learned what is was like to feel helpless against a big organization and then to have dedicated attorneys in my corner to take up my cause.

After a break to pursue my major in art history, I went to UC Hastings College of Law and continued working with Randall and Reed. Having worked together now for over 25 years, we have a unique ability to work collaboratively and finish each other’s sentences. I have strived throughout my career to make a difference in the lives of our clients. At the end of the day, if I am helping someone to get compensation for losses they suffered, then I know that all the work put into a case has been worth it.

Legal Experience

I have extensive experience in civil litigation and class action cases, including conducting discovery and depositions, calculating damages analysis, preparing motions for certification, writing appellate documents, and overseeing claims administration. We have handled several class actions against retailers where plaintiffs claimed they were forced to purchase clothing to wear to work and were not compensated for these purchases, including against Abercrombie & Fitch, Hugo Boss, Armani Exchange, Uniqlo, Dollar Tree, and Ross. Recently, I was trial counsel in a defamation claim against Bank of America on behalf of a former employee who claimed the Bank blacklisted her with future employers. The jury found Bank of America liable, including for punitive damages.

Personal Interests

Aiman-Smith & Marcy has sponsored me in the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon. When I race, I often wear a “Rockstar Ronan” shirt to support research for childhood cancer through The Ronan Thompson Foundation.


University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1999

Hastings College of the Law, University of California, J.D., 2004

Randall Aiman-Smith

Abogado (SBN 124599)

Aiman-Smith & Marcy. Oakland consumer fraud attorneys.

Educación y antecedentes

Fui afortunado. A pesar de no haber terminado la escuela secundaria o la universidad, pude -aunque con mucho trabajo- ser admitido y sobresalir en una de las mejores escuelas de derecho del país: La Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Berkeley. Mientras estuve allí, tuve el privilegio de ser editor de la California Law Review y miembro del Moot Court Board, asesorando en la redacción de escritos y en la defensa de apelaciones a otros estudiantes. Después de salir de la escuela de derecho, en mis primeros años de práctica, enseñé la escritura legal y la defensa de apelación en la Universidad de California, Hastings College of the Law. También, a lo largo de los años, he sido presentador en eventos de educación legal continua.

Experiencia legal

He sido abogado durante 35 años. He dedicado mi práctica exclusivamente a representar a empleados, consumidores e inversores en los tribunales estatales y federales de primera instancia y en los tribunales de apelación. Me gusta ir a los tribunales por mis clientes y he llevado muchos casos con jurado en los tribunales estatales y federales.

¿Ejemplos? En 2010, fui la abogada principal, junto con los otros abogados del bufete, en el caso Williams v. Union Pacific Railroad donde, después de cuatro años de preparación, el bufete obtuvo un veredicto del jurado de 1.670.000 dólares para una empleada afroamericana. En Rivero v. Surdyka, fui el abogado principal en el juicio y la apelación de un caso de derechos civiles que duró 15 años, incluyendo un juicio completo y tres apelaciones al Noveno Circuito, concluyendo finalmente con una sentencia para los demandantes de más de 2.300.000 dólares. Estos casos ilustran el lema del bufete: compromiso – resultados. Hay que comprometerse con un caso, a veces durante mucho tiempo, para obtener el resultado que el cliente merece.

No siempre ganamos en el juicio. Cuando eso ocurre, el compromiso significa llevar el caso al siguiente nivel y recurrirlo. En el caso Rivero, antes mencionado, eso fue lo que ocurrió: el tribunal desestimó el caso -habíamos perdido- pero apelamos y conseguimos una victoria para nuestros clientes que mantuvimos a través de dos apelaciones más. Desde entonces, el bufete ha conseguido muchas victorias en apelación que reivindican los derechos de los empleados y los consumidores.

A lo largo de los años he sido abogado de los demandantes en numerosos casos individuales y acciones colectivas. Puede sonar cursi, o difícil de creer, pero después de todo este tiempo, y después de todas las grandes experiencias que he tenido, mi parte favorita de ser abogado es cuando consigo dar un cheque a mi cliente.



Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de California, Berkeley, J.D., 1986