Money from white collar criminals will help victims of investment fraud
HELENA, Mont. – Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica J. Lindeen announced today that Montana’s securities restitution fund has grown to more than $200,000 with voluntary and court-ordered contributions from perpetrators of securities fraud and the companies that employed them.
“The recession was hard on everyone, and in that period of weakness, we saw a spike in the number of con-artists and criminals trying to take advantage of Montana investors. We frequently have success getting money back to victims, but sometimes the money is simply gone. The need for a permanent restitution fund has never been greater,” said Lindeen.
The Commissioner of Securities and Insurance investigates and prosecutes securities fraud, and over the past two years the Commissioner’s office has obtained more than $183 million in restitution for fraud victims. During this same time period, more than $4.3 million of court-ordered restitution was never paid to victims because the perpetrators had disappeared, gone to prison, or were unable to fulfill the restitution obligations of an order of the Commissioner’s office or a District Court.
Lindeen pushed legislation in Montana’s 2011 legislative session to help victims who never see full restitution recover a portion of what they lost. Lindeen’s office drafted and passed a bipartisan bill that established the Montana Securities Restitution Fund, a pool of money funded by voluntary and court-ordered contributions from violators of the Montana Securities Act. The maximum amount a victim of securities fraud can receive from the fund is capped at $25,000 or 25 percent of the amount of unpaid restitution, whichever is less.
“It has only been a few months since Montana became the second state in the country to create an assistance fund for victims of investment fraud, and we’ve already built a strong program that will make a big difference for Montana investors,” said Lindeen.