By Jason Zweig and Mary Pilon for The Wall Street Journal
A grim category of crime is on the rise: senior-on-senior financial fraud.
According to regulators and prosecutors, there has been a significant increase recently in the number of cases in which older investors have been taken advantage of by elderly scam artists.
“That’s a definite new trend,” says Denise Voigt Crawford, the Texas securities commissioner. “We’re seeing more cases of older people ripping off other older people. Someone joked that seniors ripping off their peers is becoming ‘the new retirement plan.’”
In Texas, John F. Langford, 76 years old, is expected to go on trial in Amarillo next year on charges that he fraudulently sold about $6 million in promissory notes and what he called “private annuities” to a circle of his fellow senior citizens. “We dispute all the state’s allegations,” says Mr. Langford’s attorney, Tim Pirtle.