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You may have lost money in your investment portfolio,
due to mismanagement and not even know it.

Bilked investors: Account actually had $5 in it, not $600 million

Some con artists who financially prey on the public have considerable staying power, given their ability to lie in incremental fashion, that is, with just enough deception to make it appear that everything account-related is legitimate while in fact they are stealing over a very long-term from trusting clients.

Others, well, don't, and fall prey to their own machinations a bit more quickly, especially when their supposed good-faith assertions to investors who rely upon their hyped professional credentials are flatly egregious departures from truth.

Here's an example: One investment adviser told clients that an account he was managing on their behalf contained about $600 million.

In fact, it had a whopping balance of ... five bucks.

That broker additionally lured investors into a securities fraud scam by promising them -- as is often the case with bogus financial opportunities -- a staggeringly high profit margin on money they would entrust to him. Specifically, they were informed that forked-over cash would ultimately increase by as much as 6,000 percent.

Nothing remotely close to that ever panned out, of course, with the result of the fraudulent scheme being the adviser's conviction on fraud charges and his recent sentencing by a federal judge to a lengthy prison term and required restitution paid back to his victims.

Notably, the adviser was a former community principal, being an ex-mayor of his city. His fraud was aimed at so-called "accredited investors," a term that commands special meaning with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and other federal and state financial regulators. We will take a look at what it means in a future post.

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