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Effort Aims at Investor Fraud in Native Communities from First Nations Development Institute

First Nations Development Institute Coordinates with FINRA Investor Education Foundation and SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy to Provide Outreach in Native American Communities

LONGMONT, Colorado (April 8, 2014) – In observance of Financial Capability Month during April, First Nations Development Institute (First Nations [ http://www.firstnations.org ]) will be working closely with the FINRA Investor Education Foundation [ http://www.finrafoundation.org/ ] (FINRA Foundation) and the Securities and Exchange Commission's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy to conduct outreach in Native American communities to raise awareness about investment fraud. Investment fraud affects thousands of Americans each year, and Native Americans investors are increasingly becoming targets of scams.

According to the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force established by President Obama in 2009, there were more than $8 billion in securities, commodities and investment fraud losses in 2010 alone. The FINRA Foundation and the SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy both have a range of tools and resources useful for investors as they consider their investment options. In addition to offering unbiased information and tools, the FINRA Foundation maintains a Fraud Center on the SaveandInvest.org [ http://www.saveandinvest.org/ ] website where consumers can access a variety of resources to learn to spot and avoid fraud. The SEC's Investor.gov [ http://www.investor.gov/ ] website includes investor Alerts and Bulletins to educate investors on frauds and other information relevant to investing.

Investment scams take many forms-including, among others, Ponzi schemes, advance-fee fraud and affinity fraud, where a salesperson may rely on their affinity with a particular group to gain trust-and investment fraud criminals use sophisticated tactics to get people to part with their money. Some common signs of fraud include the dangling of a "hot stock tip," a guaranteed rate of return on a security, or use of unregistered products. It is important for consumers to learn these red flags so they may be able to spot and avoid fraud before it's too late.

First Nations conducts financial education events each year and, in partnership with the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians (OST), takes requests from tribal leaders to assist with financial education.

"First Nations is actively engaged in Native American communities across the country, and they have developed direct relationships with many tribal treasurers and tribal investment committees," said Gerri Walsh, President of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. "Our coordination with First Nations and the SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy will allow us to provide Native Americans with the tools and resources they need to help keep their money safe from fraud."

"Our efforts initially arose because of frauds targeted at those who received payouts from the Cobell Indian Trust Settlement," noted Lori J. Schock, Director of the SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy. "We believe it is important to share information with Native American investors so they can avoid investor fraud."

"First Nations is honored to work with national partners on this important investor education topic," added First Nations President Michael E. Roberts. "We believe this will leverage all of our resources. We look forward to working with the FINRA Foundation and the SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy."

Anyone interested in a fraud awareness workshop for their tribal investment committee, tribal council or community group can contact First Nations at info@firstnations.org [ mailto:info@firstnations.org ] for more information.

About First Nations Development Institute

For 34 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage, or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information about First Nations, visit http://www.firstnations.org [ http://www.firstnations.org ].

 

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