Georgia Becoming Fertile Ground for Fraudsters


Georgia’s elected officials and legislators are ‘dropping the ball’ when it comes to protecting members of the public from investment fraud. State securities regulators have historically been the first line of defense against securities fraud.  In recent years, however, lack of funding and resources have crippled the Georgia Securities Division, which is responsible for protecting Georgians from financial fraud, according to an investigation by the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The division essentially ceased enforcement activities in 2010, as the attorney staff dwindled to one attorney. In 2011, the entire auditing staff was gone.  Spending by the Georgia Securities Division has fallen off 66% since 2008.  As a result, Georgia has become a stomping ground for sellers of unregistered, high-risk securities that are sometimes outright frauds (“Georgia Investors More Vulnerable,” AJC).

Fraudsters know that the Georgia Securities Division is severely hampered by inadequate resources. Consequently, Georgia is in danger of becoming a “Barbary Coast for securities pirates,” according to investor attorney J. Boyd Page of Atlanta-based Page Perry, who added: “Given the lack of resources, the risk of state enforcement in Georgia is virtually nonexistent.”  The article provides details regarding a number of cases of financial fraud perpetrated against Georgians by a rogues gallery of fraudsters.

Financial fraudsters often seem to be competent and trustworthy people.  That is why they are known as “confidence men” (shortened to con men). Over the years, Georgia securities fraud cases have involved perpetrators ranging in age from 20 to 70, including ministers, convicted felons, financial advisers, attorneys, a graduate from Harvard and a college football star. The victims are often senior citizens, who tend to be more trusting and vulnerable.

Unfortunately, as the article makes clear, potential victims of financial fraud and their families cannot rely on Georgia’s authorities to protect them given the lack of state resources. In fact, Georgia spends only a fraction of what smaller states (e.g. Alabama, North Carolina) spend on protecting the investing public.  Therefore, at the first sign that something may be amiss, they should consult with an attorney who is experienced in representing investors in matters involving financial fraud.

Page Perry is an Atlanta-based law firm with over 150 years of collective experience maintaining integrity in the investment markets and protecting investor rights.