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This article highlights the increase in affinity fraud - securities and investment fraud targeting members of a particular racial or ethnic group perpetrated either by a member of that group or someone claiming to advance the groups' interests. Affinity fraud differs from other forms of securities fraud because perpetrators establish their credibility and the credibility of their investment schemes by appealing to the trust that group members share, often promising that some of the invested funds will be used to assist the group's church or ethnic community. This reliance on group trust and sense of community persuades otherwise cautious people to participate in these fraudulent investment schemes. These schemes fleece people out of millions of dollars and have drawn the concern of state regulators around the country, causing such regulators to rank it among the top five most problematic securities schemes. This Article argues that the fact that these securities schemes prey on people's charitable impulses and sense of group trust justifies enhancing the punishment of those who commit affinity fraud.

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