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How can I get my money back from someone who I think scammed my money and says he invested it into a hedge fund?

New York, NY |

This guy says he owns this investment firm that does hedge funds and took $1000 from me to invest for me as a favor. Throughout the process he promised many things, such as weekly reports, 15% return, and liquidation of my assets 5 - 7 days after the end of the quarter which was end of Sept 2012. However, none of this happened and he constantly changed his phone number, I have all the things he said to me in a form of text messaging or email or chat log. Can I sue him for my money back?

Attorney Answers 3

  1. As they say, "good luck with that." Lots of people are still trying to get money back from Bernie Madoff. Even if you got a judgment against him for $1,000, do you think he'd actually pay it? If I were a betting man, I'd bet you never see a penny from him, whether you get a judgment or not. Scammers are not known for their respectful compliance with court orders.

    Not legal advice, just my two cents. I don't practice in New York or hold New York licensure. If you need legal advice, please consult a lawyer who does.

  2. It is likely that you will have to litigate. However, before doing so, an investigation will have to be undertaken, to determine if this was a real investment or a fraud. In my experience, fraudsters usually turn out to be judgment proof. That being said, sometimes funds can be recovered.

    Please be advised that this answer shall not constitute legal advice, or create an attorney-client relationship.

  3. Collecting on a guy like this is virtually impossible without spending money on a private investigator to locate assets. One option you may have, however, is to retain an attorney to draft a "whistleblower" complaint to the SEC. If the SEC decides to act on your submission, you could be entitled to a portion of the fines levied against the fraudster. Be forewarned though - of the 3,000+ tips the SEC received through this program last year, only 150+ are being pursued and only one fee award to a complaining party has been made. But it is better than no shot at all.

    The foregoing is not legal advice nor is it in any manner whatsoever meant to create or impute an attorney/client relationship.

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