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The “Red Flags” of Investment Fraud from a Former $3.8M Ponzi Scheme Manager

Please be advised: this podcast episode contains discussions about sensitive topics, including suicide, which may be distressing for some listeners. If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide or emotional distress, help is available. You can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 to connect directly with trained counselors who can provide support and assistance 24/7.


Could you be ensnared in an elaborate Ponzi scheme? According to today’s guest, cases of financial fraud are MUCH more common than the average investor suspects. Tune in to learn how to protect your nest egg rather than leave your financial future in the hands of untrustworthy people!

Welcome back to the BiggerPockets Money podcast! Today, we’re sitting down with investment fraudster turned anti-fraud advocate, James Brandolino. In 2003, James set out to start his own hedge fund, pooling over three million dollars from friends and family. But one “down” month was the catalyst for eight years of fraudulent activity—a Ponzi scheme that included lying to investors, mailing false statements, and pulling money from the fund to keep the lights on. When the guilt became too much to bear, James turned himself in and has since committed his life to warning investors about the real threat of fraud.

In this episode, James shares his whole story—from starting his fund to serving six years in prison. He talks about common “red flags” to look out for when investing and the importance of due diligence when something seems off. Of course, fraud is prevalent in the real estate investing space as well. Stick around for tips on avoiding real estate scams and how to vet a syndication partner before entrusting them with your money!

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In This Episode We Cover

  • How this former fraudster built a $3.8 million Ponzi scheme
  • How to prevent investment fraud from happening to YOU
  • The most common fraud “red flags” to watch out for
  • How to properly vet someone before entrusting them with your money
  • Investment fraud in real estate syndications (and how to avoid scams!)
  • Using your own network to help uncover fraudulent activity
  • And So Much More!

Links from the Show

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Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.

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