DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Investors who lost money with stockbrokers due to fraud or misconduct in 2007-2008 are nearing a critical deadline to seek recovery, says Richard Lewins, a Dallas investment fraud attorney and the author of How to Keep From Going Broke With A Broker.
“According to Rule 12206 of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA),” Lewins explains, “you have six years from the time you discover bad conduct to file a claim. The clock is ticking on these cases.”
Under this eligibility rule, if an investor discovered in late 2007 or early 2008 that his broker was engaged in questionable practices, he would need to file a claim immediately to be considered for arbitration.
During the Great Recession, millions of people who owned stocks had significant losses. The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) reports that most claims brought against stockbrokers involve investments allocated improperly, those unsuitable to the goals of the investor, over-actively traded, or a breach of fiduciary duty. SIPC estimates fraud costs American investors from $10-40 billion annually.
“Not every loss gives rise to a claim,” says Lewins, who spent 12 years as a stockbroker and brokerage executive before getting his law degree. “Stocks go up and stocks go down. But for many investors, the bottom falling out of the market exposed many illegal or negligent practices by brokers and their companies.”
If these practices happened in 2007 and 2008, why would those who were harmed wait so long to file a claim? Lewins says the unfiled cases are in two major categories.
The largest number, he contends, involve people who never examined their cases deeply enough to know they could file a claim for recovery when negligent practices led to the loss. “Brokerage houses always say it’s not their fault,” Lewins says. “But they don’t make it easy for investors to look closely at those losses.”
The other category of investor who may have put off making a claim is the sophisticated investor embarrassed about the loss. “Some people say they are sophisticated and should have known better,” Lewins says. “But sophisticated investors need all the necessary information or their sophistication is of no use.”
Many investment fraud attorneys will review the facts and evaluate a case at no cost to the person seeking recovery.