by John Darer CLU ChFC CSSC RSP
It 's a case of "Okie in the Pokey" as former Tulsa insurance agent Marshall Lee Virden, 55, was sentenced to 2 years in jail for his role in defrauding senior citizens out of their life savings. Virden was busted in March 2012.
Virden held investment seminars around Northeastern Oklahoma and blogged about safe retirement on Examiner.com. ironically citing a remark often attributed to Will Rogers "I don’t care so much about the return on my money as I do about the return of my money”.
According to the Oklahoma insurance Department, in some cases, Virden befriended his victims for several years in order to gain their trust. He would then convince these unsuspecting “customers” to cash in their life insurance and annuity products in exchange for precious metals such as gold and silver. Victims later learned that their investments were fraudulent and that Virden had fled the state.
The Virden case is yet another warning shot for potential victims of the most aggressive annuity and structured settlement purchasers and/or financial planners targeting the stable future payment streams received by the disabled and elderly for alternative investments.
A blurb on Examiner.com states "Marshall Virden is well known in the financial services field. What many people may not know is that Marshall is also an expert in real estate acquisition, finance and the travel industry. Marshall was given "The Key to the City" from the Mayor of Tulsa, received honors from The DOD and numerous other awards. Marshall is a graduate of The Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame's Executive Leadership and Management Program". Examiner.com is a "user submitted" content site" and a disclaimer found in its terms and conditions states it does not guarantee the truthfulness, integrity, suitability, or quality of that User Content, and it does not endorse such User Content"
A purported Twitter account for Marshall Virden says he's a "serial enterpreneur' "in Nevada for now". the web address listed is for boostcontact.com, a company whose domain is registered with Domains By Proxy a privacy service of GoDaddy.com. When doing business, especially financial services business such an investments or insurance, I have raised the red flag on companies that solicit via anonymous domain registrations.
There are sometimes legitimate reasons for raising cash from annuities or structured settlements. It is not a decision to take lightly. Structured settlement factoring transactions must pass a judicial approval process. Yet there is no regulation of the sale/purchase process for both regular and structured settlement annuity payment rights and the lack of regulation permits bad actors to lurk.Be careful out there.