Before she received a sizeable divorce settlement in 2007, Peggy Boyles was a housewife for 25 years and had never opened any type of investment account on her own.

The fact that this $843,272 represented her entire net worth and that she was unemployed didn't stop the Wachovia Investments financial advisor with whom she entrusted this windfall from immediately investing it in seven different speculative investments -- including, among others, mutual funds in Latin America and China and "ultra bull" leveraged exchange traded funds -- according to her attorney, Mark Tepper.

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