Financial Fraud Can Happen to Anyone

Financial Fraud Can Happen to Anyone

In 2008 it was discovered that Bernard Madoff, famed financial investor, had scammed clients out of approximately $65 billion over 20 years. His victims included people from all walks of life–from politics, to Hollywood luminaries.

The list even includes Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel and his Foundation for Humanity. Madoff stole from many in his Jewish community, not all of them wealthy.

He fooled investors, big and small, with claims of exclusivity and consistently positive returns. A year later in 2009, a seemingly endless string of similar scams began to surface.

Although the most sensationalized scandals were large-scale, many scams also occurred in small communities across America. They may not have made the papers, but these small scale con artists still cheated their victims out of every last penny.

No matter what regulators may devise, there will always be con artists on both big and small scales. They have existed long before Charles Ponzi’s famous swindle in 1920, and will no doubt continue to fool investors in the future.

The amount of financial scams uncovered in 2008 and 2009 were hardly unusual. While bear markets and recessions reveal scams, they do not cause scams.

Madoff was lying to his investors for decades–the recession of 2008 simply exposed his practices, because he could not continue any longer. If fraudsters manage to avoid detection long enough to get enough money from their victims, market volatility will eventually unmask their fraud.

Normal market volatility is just that–normal. Although many may feel they have been cheated in periods of big volatility because the market put a dent in their portfolios, there is a big difference between normal market volatility and thievery.

Financial fraud can happen to anyone. It is critical for investors to follow five rules to avoid financial fraud:

  • Avoid giving full asset control
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Phantom Commercial Loans

Phantom Commercial Loans

The description of phantom commercial loans was inspired by earlier terminology related to phantom software or similar phrases which generally referred to high tech companies announcing that they were planning to issue new products at some vague point in the future. The usual motivation was to discourage consumers from buying a competitive product because the manufacturer would usually suggest that their yet to be released product would surpass an existing item in one or more ways. Because such a large percentage of these announcements were often not followed by the actual sale of software, the product which was announced with such fanfare but never ultimately made available for sale became known in many circles as phantom software because the intended use of the definition suggests something that only appears to be real.

Sadly a similar event is now occurring more frequently with respect to business financing and working capital finance. Lenders which either do not have sufficient funds for routine lending purposes or which do not really have a serious interest in actively providing commercial loans are nevertheless making announcements about the availability of their financial services for small businesses.

While it is hoped that this trend will not continue, it is simply too early to provide a confident prediction as to how this will unfold over the next year or so. Because borrowers should always have the most accurate information for any potential loan transactions, it is suggested that they take some extra precautions to ensure that any banking representations are fully examined and confirmed for accuracy before proceeding in attempts to secure working capital.…

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Need For Venture Capital Stable in Questionable Economy

Need For Venture Capital Stable in Questionable Economy

The declining economic trend continues. An old axiom in business says that the best time to start a business is during an economic crisis, but all indications show a similar downward trend in available venture capital.

It seems that most venture capital groups sit with cash, overcoming the uncertainties that dominate the economy. Not because the money isn’t there; the group just doesn’t want to take the risk now. Why is that?

The aim of most new companies is to make it an IPO or be acquired by another company. The failure rate in starting a business is very worrying. With rising fuel costs an increase in the costs of all other things, including capital equipment, labor and supplies, as well as construction and real estate. Companies that will not invest in their own businesses will most likely not acquire other companies. With the high costs associated with starting a business, people rely on initial profits to fund their new business.

Unfortunately, these businesses that open with little money do not survive. Consumers will not spend money today, competition is high, and the cost is too expensive to promote and advertise new business.

How Venture Capital Helps Small Businesses Become Big Businesses

The entry of money in the initial phase of start-up helps businesses to acquire equipment, real estate, and other things that are not related to day-to-day business operations. This type of investment helps businesses to grow very quickly. Usually.

In this economy, consumer confidence is low. People sit with cash reserves and don’t buy new products … from small appliances to cars, they either fix what they have or do without. The service industry was also hit. More consumers choose to do it themselves than hiring a company.

Venture capital allows beginners to buy the equipment and inventory …

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Green Business Equals Danger For Greenhorn Investors

Green Business Equals Danger For Greenhorn Investors

I am not suggesting for a moment that all Green businesses are bad investments, but I am suggesting that whenever a bubble appears or to there is much enthusiasm for an idea, that a number of the businesses ideas sold to unquestioning investors will turn out to serve the middle men far more than the money men.

As the investors, the business angels, we need to be on our guard.

There appear to be two dangers with the current alternative or green energy fad.

The first is the classic investment risk taught by Benjamin Graham and discussed in his book The Intelligent Investor. Graham, the mentor of Warren Buffett, took apart the reasons for investing in the 1950s boom industry – the airlines.

His analysis has been proven to be right as Buffett now claims that in 50 years, airline investors taken as a whole still have not had a return on their money.

However, Graham did spot that a large number of companies supplying the new industry did make a lot of money for investors. Airports, retailers and caterers have done well.

Graham’s conclusion was that it is far better to supply a growth business sector than to be a part of a great swam of investment as inevitably too much money will be invested too easily squeezing the profit margins of good ideas.

The second risk is that climate change will turn out to be a Malthusian idea that solves itself as population growth, mutually assured destruction and other apocalyptic scenarios usually do.

This is illustrated by the increasingly skeptical scientific community which is beginning to raise its head against the slavish commitment to all forms of greenery.

I and my fellow investors are not scientists, but it is worth noting their scientific concerns as it could up-end …

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Business Plans for Angel Investors

Business Plans for Angel Investors

Angel investors, venture capital firms, and private firms all going to see a well written business plan as it relates to your intended startup operation. A year-to-year budget is necessary when you’re seeking any type of financing especially if you are working with an angel investor. Commonly, you may need a private placement memorandum in addition to your business plan. You will be required to have a subscription agreement that allows these individuals to place money with your business. Your CPA can assist you with calculating the anticipated ROI for your business.

There are many drawbacks to working with a venture capital firm or angel investor for funding purposes. Regular payments to an investment can be a yes or no factor as to whether or not you receive the funding that you need for your business. As such, and within your business plan, you may want to discuss royalty based financing. Royalty based financing typically requires that your business has a very high amount of gross income. There many benefits to working with private equity firms. However, it should be noted that not all businesses need that capital in order to launch their operations.

In regards to angel investors and SBICs, most of these people do not expect that their investments will undergo an initial public offering. You should be aware of the complications as it relates to small business financing. As stated earlier, angel investors typically do not make loans to businesses. However, hard money mortgages are becoming a very popular method of generating a very high return on investment for me to investors. Your lawyer should have a number of documents prepared for you in regards to raising capital. There are many negatives when working with angel investors, which we will further discuss in several of our future …

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