Being Made a Fool at the End of Life

Investment Pitches Prey On Elderly

Vulnerable Group Ensnared By Salesmen, Officials Say

Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, September 5, 2007; Page A01

Less than a year before he died, Arthur Moyer converted his $500,000 life savings into a complex investment he could not tap for a decade without incurring steep fees.
The 79-year-old former machinist from Pennsylvania poured his money into a deferred annuity at the urging of a salesman who presented himself as a retirement expert and collected a hefty commission, according to Moyer’s son and a family adviser. They said Moyer, ailing and confined to a wheelchair, spent the final weeks of his life slumped with his head between his knees, fending off depression.
There are more and more old folks, that’s the pain and the progress of longevity.
There are more and more fraudulent schemes for wrenching old folks loose from their money, as well. The recipe is one part confusion, one part not wanting to be seen as out-of-date and a final part loneliness.
The answer, it would seem, is only partly a matter of laws against fraud. These are for the most part willing agreements that are not in the best interests of the investor, but hard to pin down as illegal. Laws will bring forth a whole new crop of perfectly legal but immoral investment schemes.
Society, defined as “a formal association of people with similar interests” is the glue of old age. Whatever can be encouraged in this area will be worth a world of law.

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