What is a Financial Predator?
There are six primary types of financial predators. Within each type are multiple sub-types that specialize in a particular type of financial crime. There are also 3 classes which relate to the amount of danger they bring. Knowing your type will help you address what is happening and protect yourself.
Con artists come in many forms and are as old as when humans first learned to speak. Some modern-day cons including using a relationship or the promise of a relationship to borrow money, selling a business service such as a roof with no intention of delivering, and raising money for “an investment” that is actually just the con artist’s personal bank account. Con artists are often smart about hiding their true identity, so they can “love ‘em and leave ‘em”.
Guardian Deceivers are people who play an official role in someone’s life and use that position of authority to steal. For example, in one case, the grandparents had set up a trust fund for their grandson’s education. The father made draws on the fund for “education” but used the money for his own enjoyment. Eventually the $100,000 trust was reduced to $5,000. Guardians do not have to be family members. They can be anyone entrusted with legal powers to watch out for a minor or someone who is incapacitated or elderly.
These are non-family members who have a position of influence and sometimes near-total-power over the victim because they take care of them. Whether sick, injured, or old, anyone can end up dependent on someone who is non-family, even in a professional environment such as a hospital or senior living home. Caretaker Deceivers are more likely to use murder as a method than most of the other types. They also rewrite wills, steal jewelry and other assets, and take advantage of someone’s weakness or near death situation.
In one case a 45 year-old nursing home assistant modified the will of an 85 year-old client giving all of her client’s assets to herself. These assets were worth well over a million dollars.
Family members can be financial predators as well. These predators use other family members for their financial gain and take advantage of their unique position as family members.
They range from non-dangerous to very dangerous. For example in one family, after the death of a grandfather on a Texas ranch, several adult grand children went to the house and took paintings, dishes, jewelry and guns. They did this before probate began which made it difficult for the other family members to address it. Family Betrayers can also be violent. One 45 year-old man in Colorado murdered his grandparents to gain control of the family ranch. Sheriff detectives figured out what he did and arrested him, but how many times does it work and we just never know?
PRIVILEGED PROFESSIONAL PREDATORS (aka “Triple P’s”)
This type includes executors of wills, administrators of probate, trustees of trusts, and even professionals such as lawyers, doctors, judges, etc. Anyone who is in a privileged position whether permanent or temporary, has a unique opportunity to steal because of their access to funds and paperwork. They are especially dangerous from a financial standpoint because their crimes can be hidden and sometimes protected by official paperwork
TRUSTED MANAGER/EXECUTIVE/WORKER (aka “MEW”)
While the amount of responsibility and trust may vary, this type works for the subject and because of that, they have access to money, assets, customers, accounts, information, and more that can be stolen, manipulated or mis-used. If the company is successful, it makes it harder to identify when this is happening, but it’s still do-able. Normally business owners become aware only when the business gets into trouble.
Within each category of financial predator there are 3 classes:
- CLASS 1 – Highly dangerous. This class will use any and all means to commit and cover up their crimes including murder.
- CLASS 2 – Generally not dangerous (but always have the potential to move to class 1). These are adult predators.
- CLASS 3 – These are usually younger than the other classes as they are just learning how to prey on other family members. “Little Thieves” as they are sometimes called, commit modest crimes such as stealing from Mom’s wallet.
One advantage that financial predators share is that their crimes do not leave a complaining witness. In other words, they didn’t assault or rape someone, they just quietly removed some assets whether by hand, pen or computer. So their crimes often go unnoticed. The disadvantage they have is that their crimes almost always leave a paper trail.
Knowing the six types of financial predators will help you understand what might be happening, what could happen, and what might have happened. And if you can’t figure it out or are unsure what to do, give us a call. We’ll deal with them for you.