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

Once unraveled ... just another fraudulent Ponzi scheme

The indications were all there. The luxury airplane travel. Exclusive club memberships. Pricey cars. Jewelry.

And to top it off: a polished and persuasive pitchman extracting money from the wallets of an impressed audience swayed by promises of sizable and guaranteed investment returns.

Does that sound familiar?

It certainly does at the Los Angeles securities-focused Law Offices of Marc I. Zussman, a practice devoted to consumer protection against financial fraud. Our legal blog seeks to broadly inform and educate readers across California and elsewhere about the slippery world of con artists who disingenuously employ tricks and ruses to steal money from good-faith investors.

The description leading off today's post refers to a recently unraveled scam that federal securities regulators say was bound to eventually collapse, given its fictional character.

To wit: the companies into which investor funds allegedly flowed didn't actually exist. Most of the hard-earned money that more than 8,400 investors handed over to a bogus conglomeration of interrelated entities called the Woodbridge Group of Companies LLC actually ended up in the pockets of a rogue scammer and coconspirators.

And, yes, toward application of the aforementioned luxuries.

The investment total was far from trivial. The SEC states that the Ponzi scheme took in an approximate $1.2 billion from its thousands of investors. Sadly, many people fleeced in the scam were elderly investors.

Consumers were impressed with promises of a safe and steady annual payment of up to 10% on the money they handed over. Reportedly, the scammers employed -- and handsomely paid -- a team of agents to tout the "low risk" and "conservative" nature of the investments.

Again, the hype was illusory. Hopefully, there is something remaining in the way of restitution for the thousands of defrauded individuals and families.

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