If you have ever channel surfed during the middle of the night you have likely come across a variety of “Get Rich Quick” infomercials promising money, happiness, a sharper mind with a quick phone call and a credit card number. While you may have quickly flipped to the next channel and thought, “who buys these products?” the allure of making money with hardly any effort is enticing. Those most vulnerable to the promised pot of gold are often seniors who hope to leave something to their loved ones.
In May of 2013, an eighty-year old woman contacted the Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) scared that she would become homeless and penniless because the real estate scheme she invested in was not making money but rather draining every last dime from her retirement savings. An investment in two out-of-state properties through a buyer’s seminar and a mail order real estate course with fees comparable to any college tuition absorbed the woman’s savings and threatened to put her into debt due to the balloon payments that would shortly be due.
LRIS Elder Abuse panel attorney Martin Glickfeld agreed to speak with the client to assess her case. At first the client called as many as eight times per day, seeking reassurance from Glickfeld that her situation could somehow be remedied. Like many financial scams, the case required hours of research into who owned the foreclosed properties the infomercial company was buying and flipping, and why the monthly return that was promised the client had never been received. Glickfeld’s colleagues were skeptical that he could ever recoup the client’s investment, yet within a matter of months he secured a six-figure settlement.
As a practicing attorney for over thirty-three years and the owner of his own firm since 1987, Glickfeld’s practice spans several areas of law but Elder Abuse cases are his passion and he is an active member of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. For Glickfeld, joining LRIS in 1995 was a smart business and personal decision. “LRIS does good screening of cases so I can make a quick decision as to whether or not to take a case. It’s a good source of business and provides a valuable service to the community. Where is the average person to go when they need legal assistance? I don’t want to send them to the Internet. There is integrity with LRIS.”
The Bar Association of San Francisco’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service – you make a difference, we make it easier. To learn more about the LRIS, visit www.sfbar.org/lris.