Find the right lawyer now

What Is Affinity Fraud?

Find a Local Criminal Defense Lawyer near You

What Is Affinity Fraud?

Financial investments consist of both direct investments, such as stocks and bonds, and indirect investments, such as mutual funds. Criminal fraud occurs when an individual intends to or actually deceives another through false representation. The intended victim relies on the false representation to their legal detriment. When financial investment and criminal fraud are combined, it can result in several different types of financial scams. One such financial scam is called affinity fraud.

Affinity fraud is a type of investment scam in which a person preys on an identifiable group of people. The individual promotes the investment scam while pretending to be a member of the group. In some cases, the fraudster is actually a member of the identifiable group.

What Is an Identifiable Group?

Identifiable groups of people include:

  • Elderly
  • Professional groups
  • Ethnic communities
  • Religious groups

What Types of Scams Are Considered Affinity Scams?

These scams usually involve a pyramid, or “Ponzi”, scheme. Under a pyramid scheme, a new investor will give money to the perpetrator of the scheme. The money is then used to pay to someone who invested their money earlier.

How Does This Type of Scam Occur?

The individual, who actually is or pretends to be part of the group, will first convince a respected member of the group for help. For instance, the target may be a religious or community leader. They will tell people about the new fraudulent investment opportunity on the scammer’s behalf. In many instances, the trusted leader will unknowingly be a victim of the scam too.  People invest their money into the fraudulent scheme. The individual usually flees after collecting the investments, leaving the group without money or an investment.

Why Does an Affinity Scam Work?

Scams like this are based on trust and friendship. Thus, the close knit structure allows the scam to work with a wider group of people than if the individual approached strangers. Also, victims generally will not tell authorities or seek legal remedies. Instead, they frequently try to work things out within their group.

Should I Talk to an Attorney If I Am Suspected of an Affinity Scheme?

Affinity schemes are serious white collar crimes, and a conviction of involvement in an affinity scheme can not only subject you to a serious criminal sentence, but it can also have a very negative impact on your professional reputation. If you are accused of or charged with this type of scam, talk to a criminal attorney.

Photo of page author Taelonnda Sewell

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 06-25-2018 08:55 PM PDT

Law Library Disclaimer
  • No fee to present your case
  • Choose from lawyers in your area
  • A 100% confidential service
What is LegalMatch?

We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.