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Businessman Accused of Defrauding Seniors
A prominent Springfield businessman is accused of defrauding senior citizens planning their retirement.
Twenty-one senior citizens in the Springfield area allegedly have been deceived by Dick Van Dyke Financial, and the man who owns the business, Dick Van Dyke.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is suing Van Dyke and his financial firm for allegedly using fraud to market and sell insurance investment products to seniors.
"I categorically deny those allegations," Van Dyke told ABC Newschannel 20.
He admits 100 percent of his clients are people aged 55 and older, planning for retirement.
"I have no client complaints, to my knowledge," he said.
The lawsuit stems from a joint investigation by the Secretary of State's office and the Attorney General's office.
"In this particular case, the Secretary of State's Department of Securities did an audit and investigation of this company and through the course of it found they'd been defrauding investors; in this case, seniors," Henry Haupt, Deputy Press Secretary for Secretary of State Jesse White, said.
The lawsuit alleges Van Dyke's goal was to gain the trust of older citizens and steer them into buying indexed annuities, from which he earned high commissions. The Attorney General said that was 90 percent of his business.
Court documents state Van Dyke earned $160,937.05 for 31 transactions, but his clients lost $263,822.13.
"Particularly a senior who's victimized by a scam artist and they lose a portion or everything they've worked for, it's absolutely sickening," Haupt said.
Van Dyke is adamant he will be found innocent and his name will be cleared.
"I have an excellent record and I'd like to stand on that and I will vigorously defend myself and my reputation and I will win," he said.
The lawsuit is asking the court to prohibit Van Dyke from using deceptive marketing and to pay back commissions earned on the sale of replacement annuities to his clients.
The Secretary of State's office encourages all investors, especially seniors, to investigate before you invest.