As promised, today we are announcing the 2021 winners of the Robert Wayne Pearce Investor Fraud Awareness Scholarship. Over the course of the year, we received applications from over 30 students from schools around the country who all wrote quality essays about the dangers of investment fraud and how we can protect ourselves. It was a difficult decision to select just one student winner and so, in addition to the grand prize of $2,500, we have selected 5 other students who are being awarded consolation prizes of $100 each for their efforts and sharing their thoughts on investment fraud and how to protect ourselves.
The winner of the $2500 scholarship is Karen Simpson, a student at Palm Beach State College, who wrote, among other things:
Investment fraud is a very real and serious problem that happens more than you may realize. But it doesn’t have to scare you away from investing your money in fear of losing it. Learning about the different types of investment fraud and how to protect yourself from fraud, before you decide to invest, is extremely important! You could not only experience financial loss but suffer compromised identity, damaged credit, and emotional issues including rage, frustration, and fear.
Knowledge is power, and so I also recommend you educate yourself by learning about general nature, mechanics and risks of different types of investments before you start investing. I find an excellent starting point to educate myself is Investopedia, www.investopedia.com. You can also find specific financial information, including, annual reports, prospectuses and offering circulars about companies recommended to compare what you were told about a recommended investment by searching the U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission Edgar website for information, www.sec.gov/edgar/search-and-access.
The easiest way to protect yourself is to use common sense, look for the red flags and ask questions. Follow a strict check list of do’s and do nots, if it sounds too good to be true, in most cases, it is. If you notice any red flags about an investment, avoid it, as well as the person making the recommendation. That “High Guaranteed Returns” pitch they love to give, don’t believe it. Every investment carries some degree of risk, which is generally reflected in the rate of return you are promised. The higher the return, the higher the risk!
The winners of the $100 consolation prizes are as follows:
- India Bartram of the University of Syracuse, Syracuse, New York
- Jacob Paul of Villanova University –Charles Widger School of Law, Villanova, Pennsylvania
- Kylie Fay of the University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama
- Natalia Capella of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee
- Rafael Whalen of John Paul The Great Catholic School, Escondido, California
We thank all of the other applicants for their efforts, as well, and announce that the next scholarship to be awarded December 15, 2022 will be given to the student who writes the most thoughtful essay about whether they believe the Robinhood Markets, Inc. (“Robinhood”) Investment App is a good tool for novice investors or just game to take advantage of them and make money for the stock brokerage firm. We are interested in learning whether you think Robinhood platform is living up to the legend of Robinhood, who took from the rich and gave to the poor!