8 Types of Financial Predators
Con artists come in many forms and are as old as when humans first learned to speak. Some modern-day cons include 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.
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.
FAMILY MEMBER CLASS 1
Family members can be financial predators as well. Class 1 is the most dangerous. They are willing to use any means available to gain control of assets. For example, one 45-year-old man in Colorado murdered his grandparents to gain control of the family ranch. Police detectives figured out what he did and arrested him. So it didn’t work. But how many times does it work and we just never know?
FAMILY MEMBER CLASS 2
Generally not dangerous (but always have the potential to move to class 1), these adult financial predators use other family members for their financial gain. For example, after the death of a grandfather in Texas, a group of cousins “raided” the family farm and grabbed a number of assets such as paintings, jewelry, and guns. They later tried to claim these were gifts given prior to their grandfather’s death and thus not part of probate.
FAMILY MEMBER CLASS 3
These are usually younger than the other classes as they are just learning how to prey on other family members. They are often small-time criminals as well and socio-economic status doesn’t appear to impact this. “Little Thieves” as they are sometimes called, commit modest crimes such as stealing from Mom’s wallet.
This type includes executors of wills, administrators of probate, trustees of trusts, and even professionals such as lawyers, doctors, 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.
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 misused. If the company is successful, it makes it harder to identify when this is happening, but it’s still doable. Normally business owners become aware only when the business gets into trouble.
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 or pen. So their crimes often go unnoticed. The disadvantage they have is that their crimes almost always leave a paper trail, so it’s possible to figure out what they were doing.