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Verbatim: New rule targets those who prey on senior citizens

Statement issued Thursday:

INDIANAPOLIS – A new regulation aiming to increase protection for senior citizens from dishonest investment professionals took effect this week in Indiana. Known as the Senior Model Rule, the regulation is designed to prohibit the practice among some investment advisors of using bogus professional designations aimed at deceiving senior citizens.

Under the regulation, professionals whose titles include the words “senior,” “retirement” and “elder” in combination with the terms “specialists,” “adviser” or “consultant” will violate the Indiana Uniform Securities Act. However, professional titles approved by the American National Standards Institute or by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies will be exempt from the rule.

“Adopting the Senior Model Rule adds yet another tool Indiana can use to increase investor protection,” Secretary Rokita said. “Specifically, it will help us continue our ongoing efforts to protect senior citizens from falling prey to illegitimate investment offers.”

Investment professionals who violate the rule could face a $10,000 fine and potentially have their professional licensed suspended or revoked.

The adoption of the rule is the latest in a series of efforts by the Secretary of State’s office to promote investor protection and increase penalties against individuals who target senior citizens. In 2009, efforts of the Secretary of State’s office, in working with the Indiana General Assembly, resulted in an amendment to the Indiana Uniform Securities Act that raised the felony level for fraud committed against those age 60 years or older from a Class C felony to a Class B - carrying a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.

For the last two years, fraud against seniors has been a specific focus of Indiana Investment Watch - a program of the Secretary of State’s office responsible for increasing financial literacy in Hoosiers and educating them about the various types of securities fraud. Hoosiers can gain useful money management tips and tools to protect themselves from investment scams by visiting, www.IndianaInvestmentWatch.com<http://www.indianainvestmentwatch.com/>.

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