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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

We’re All Gonna Die, Might As Well Make Some Money Off It

Imagine that you, your spouse, or a beloved relative is terminally ill. A man who works for a local lawyer approaches you and asks whether your relative would be interested in a little proposition. Your relative would need to provide their name, Social Security number, and a signature or two. In return, they would receive a few thousand dollars. Sounds like an identity theft scheme, doesn't it? Only it was all perfectly legal. No families were swindled, no fake credit cards were opened. The lawyer behind this scheme was taking advantage of a loophole in the rules of a specific type of life insurance product, variable annuities. The end result was that investors used a system intended to protect a large nest egg for future generations to profit without having to die.

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