DON’T LET YOUR MONEY FALL INTO THE WRONG HANDS 5 Ways to Protect Yourself From Investment Fraud
shows up on your account statements with the brokerage firm.
April is Financial Literacy Month, so I want to take a quick detour from our regularly scheduled “What’s Happening With Jerry” programming to talk to you about something really important: how to protect yourself from investment fraud. Over the course of my career, I’ve handled investment fraud lawsuits for people of all ages and experience levels and companies of all sizes and demographics. My clients run the gamut from retired individuals all the way through multimillion-dollar pension funds. With that in mind, here are my tips for safe investing. Tip No. 1: Recognize that no matter who you are, you’re at risk for investment fraud. Just because you’ve invested successfully before doesn’t mean you aren’t in danger of being scammed. Pay close attention to your investments, no matter what. Tip No. 2: Do your research. If you’ve been approached by an investor, always look into their background and research before you do business with them. A great resource for this is BrokerCheck. com. There, you can look up an individual to check their disciplinary history and see if they’re licensed. It is possible for investment professionals to have their histories expunged from the record, but BrokerCheck.com is still a great place to start. It’s also vital to do your research on any investment product your investment professional suggests, particularly if it’s not recommended by their brokerage firm. Sometimes, brokers will recommend exploitative, trend-riding products that pay them on commission but aren’t registered or safe. This is a tactic called “selling away.” To avoid these shady products, make sure any product you invest with includes a prospectus and
Tip No. 3: Don’t take friends of friends on faith. It can be tempting to skip Tip No. 2 if you feel like you already know an investment promoter because they’re a friend of a friend or they go to your church. However, doing so would be a big mistake. In my experience, one of the quickest ways fraud spreads is through affinity groups like churches, professional organizations, and social clubs. That’s because effective promoters find new clients through referrals, which are often given before the referrer realizes they’ve been scammed. To protect yourself from this, go back to Tip No. 2. investment, don’t take their words at face value. This is particularly important if the call comes from out of state. This tactic is popular with people promoting “pump- and-dump schemes,” a type of securities fraud where promoters trick people into investing in a particular stock then rapidly devalue that stock by “dumping” their shares. As the age-old saying goes, “If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” and time the market. Timing the market is fraught with difficulty. A better, safer approach is to diversify your investments across a variety of categories and also within those categories. That way, you’ll avoid putting all your eggs in one basket and decrease your risk of fraud. Mutual funds are a great option for this, and a quick trip to the library can fill you in on other reputable alternatives. Tip No. 4: Be suspicious of phone calls. If someone calls you to promote an Tip No. 5: Be wary of people who promote their ability to pick stocks
Bonus Tip: The first time you’re surprised, call a lawyer. If you’re dealing with a shady investment promoter or program, something surprising will happen sooner or later — likely before you miss a payment. The surprise could be as simple as something not showing up on your bank statement or failing to get documentation for an investment you’ve paid for. Regardless of what it is, don’t shrug off the weirdness. Instead, call a lawyer and have them look into the investment right away. If you wait for a second surprise, you’ll start to get desensitized. Soon it will be hard to tell good investment tactics from bad, and legal red tape will begin to limit your ability to fight back. If you’ve already been surprised once, my team and I can help. You can reach us at SierraCrestLaw.com or by calling 775.448.6070.
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SOMETHING IN THE WATER WHY ROB BILOTT TOOK ON DUPONT
property provided water for all the cattle and wildlife in the area. Since the sale, the stream had become frothy and discolored, and the animals that drank from it were sick, malformed, or dead, including 153 of Tennant’s 200 cows. When Bilott stumbled upon a letter from DuPont to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the real horror story began to emerge — one that went far beyond the boundaries of Tennant’s farm and into the drinking water of every American. The letter mentioned a mysterious chemical called PFOA, and Bilott requested documentation from DuPont to find out more about it. However, the company refused, so Bilott requested a court order. Soon, dozens of disorganized boxes filled with thousands of 50-year-old files arrived at Bilott’s firm.
Rob Bilott never should have agreed to represent Wilbur Tennant’s case.
The cattle farmer had presented evidence of the strange malady plaguing his cattle to lawyers, politicians, and veterinarians in Parkersburg, West Virginia, but no one took Tennant’s case seriously.
in the mess of documents, but soon, his time as an environmental lawyer helped him see the bigger picture. It became clear that DuPont had orchestrated a massive cover-up regarding their use of PFOA. PFOA is used in the manufacturing of Teflon, and the company had knowingly exposed workers and the Parkersburg water supply to it. Bilott filed a class-action suit as a medical monitoring claim on behalf of the people of Parkersburg, and, as of 2011, a probable link between PFOA and six health conditions, including two types of cancer, has been found.
But when Bilott saw the evidence for himself, it was clear that something was wrong.
The videos and photographs Tennant had collected showed cattle with patchy fur, growths and lesions, white slime coming from their mouths, and staggering gaits. Tennant told Bilott that the abnormal behavior and physical deformities had started after his brother Jim sold his property to DuPont, a chemical company with a big presence in Parkersburg. Jim’s property bordered on Wilbur’s, and a stream running from Jim’s
He was worried he wouldn’t be able to find anything incriminating or even conclusive Because of the medical monitoring claim, plaintiffs can file personal injury lawsuits against DuPont. So far, 3,535 people have. If it weren’t for Bilott and Tennant, the public might have never known the dangers of PFOA. DOYOUR PART TO KEEP AMERICA BEAUTIFUL And Maintain Green Living Spaces for Everyone
jogging and picking up litter, which takes care of your health and keeps your community clean. Anybody can do it: Just throw on your running shoes, grab a bag, head out the door, and pick up any stray bits of trash you see on your morning jog or evening walk.
to better the place you live in. Here are three ways to show your appreciation for a green America this month.
Have you ever walked through a park and seen a plastic bottle or wrapper lying on the ground? If so, did you pick it up and properly dispose of it? You might not have realized it, but in that moment, you took a small step toward keeping your community — and, by extension, America — beautiful! April is Keep America Beautiful Month, and folks who celebrate aim to help each community in every state stay clean and green. Created by the nonprofit organization Keep America Beautiful, this holiday offers a perfect opportunity to roll up your sleeves and work
VOLUNTEER FOR THE GREAT AMERICAN CLEANUP.
IMPROVE RECYCLING THROUGH EDUCATION.
This event is one of America’s largest community improvement programs, with hundreds of thousands of people
An important goal during Keep America Beautiful Month is to spread awareness about recycling. There are various ways to educate those around you about recycling and encourage them to do their part. At work, for example, you can volunteer to lead a recycling initiative by printing off guides and fostering discussions on why recycling is so essential. At home, you can make a commitment with your family to fulfill the three R’s of recycling: reduce, reuse, recycle. To discover more ways to participate in Keep America Beautiful month, visit their website at KAB.org today!
participating each year. In 2019, over 550,000 volunteers participated in the GAC to bring natural beauty back into their communities. 2020 marks this event’s 22nd year, and you can be a part of it this month! Volunteer your time with a local Keep America Beautiful affiliate or another community improvement program close to home. Do your part to clean up your parks and spread awareness today.
If you’re passionate about staying active and cleaning up your neighborhood, then this is the perfect activity for you! Plogging combines
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TAKE A BREAK
Few things change faster than the internet, and how we connect with the internet is constantly evolving. When it comes to wireless capabilities, fourth-generation (4G) networks have been the norm for 10 years. But 4G couldn’t meet demands forever, and there’s already talk of a fifth-generation (5G) network taking center stage. So, what makes 5G different from 4G, and how will it affect consumers and their internet-enabled devices? Simply put, 5G is the fifth generation of wireless technology that enables mobile devices like cellphones and stationary devices like desktop computers to send and receive data without being physically connected to a network via cables. As technology improves and more connection points are established around the globe, new network generations are “released” to represent significant advancements in speed and reach. Consumers will notice the rise of 5G mostly with their smartphones. Apps and services that function using the internet will have fewer delays, faster loading times, more reliable internet access in remote locations, and more stable downloading and uploading capabilities. Experts predict that 5G will provide download speeds of up to 10,000 megabits per second, which is roughly 100 times faster than 4G. While it can take a 4G network upward of 15 seconds to download a simple 5-megabyte music file, a 5G network will be able to download an entire movie in less than two seconds. These network updates are all about speed, but that doesn’t mean you should rush to switch your cellphone over to 5G. Many providers are still testing the service with select markets, and a full rollout of 5G isn’t expected until later this year. Check with your network provider about the options they currently offer and get ready to connect with the world like never before. SO, WHAT IS 5G? A New Horizon in Wireless Technology WHAT ARE THE BASICS? HOW POWERFUL WILL IT BE? WHAT’S NEXT?
EASY DEVILED EGGS
While the kids hunt for Easter eggs in the yard, whip up this easy deviled egg recipe for a hearty snack that’s sure to satisfy any craving.
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
12 large eggs, hard-boiled
1/2 tsp dill weed
Fresh parsley, minced, and paprika for garnish
1/2 tsp fresh chives, minced
1. In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, milk, parsley flakes, dill, chives, mustard, salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper. Mix well and set aside. 2. Cut eggs lengthwise and remove yolks carefully to preserve egg whites. 3. In a small bowl, mash yolks. 4. Mix mashed yolks with mayonnaise mixture. 5. Spoon or pipe the mixture back into the egg whites. 6. Garnish with fresh parsley and paprika. Refrigerate before serving.
Inspired by TasteOfHome.com
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Jerry’s Top 5 Tips for Safe Investing
The Lawyer Who Took on a Multibillion-Dollar Company Keep America Beautiful
Easy Deviled Eggs 5G Made Simple
The History of Libraries in America
THE OLDEST LIBRARIES IN AMERICA A STORY OF MANY FIRSTS
A FEW MORE FIRSTS
What’s the oldest library in America? It’s an easy question to ask, but it has an unexpectedly complicated answer. Before the Industrial Revolution generated greater interest in public services, a library’s function and purpose varied widely. Several libraries in the United States claim to be the country’s “first,” but for different reasons. Some believe Harvard University hosted the first library in the United States. Harvard was the first university in the United States, founded in 1636, and clergyman John Harvard seeded the library with a 400-book collection. Soon after, however, Thomas Bray, another clergyman, began establishing the first free lending libraries throughout the colonies to encourage the spread of the Anglican Church. Not surprisingly, most of the libraries’ holdings were theological. COLLEGES AND THE CLERGY
During the 1700s, a few more “first” libraries were established. In 1731, Ben Franklin and a few others started the first subscription library in the United States. Members of subscription libraries could pay to buy books or borrow them for free. In 1757, 60 men founded the Library Company of Burlington in New Jersey, and Thomas Rodman received a charter from King George II to operate the business in 1758. The library still operates under that charter today. The Library of Burlington was the first library to operate out of its own building after a prominent resident donated the land in 1789.
Hampshire, at a town meeting. It was the first tax-supported free public library in the United States and in the world. Not long after that, the Boston Public Library, known as the “palace for the people,” became the first municipal public library in the country. The Boston Public Library was also the first library to have a space specifically for children. Out of all the “first” libraries in the country, these are the most probable progenitors of most libraries today — even if they weren’t exactly “first.”
BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE
In 1833, just as the Industrial Revolution was picking up steam, the Peterborough Town Library was founded in Peterborough, New
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