Kaneohe family suing Charles Schwab - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Kaneohe family suing Charles Schwab

Beatrice Muranaka Beatrice Muranaka
Doug Kiang Doug Kiang
Gail Woliver Gail Woliver

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

KANEOHE (HawaiiNewsNow) - The video playing on YouTube shows 95-year-old Beatrice Muranaka talking to her pet bird, walking with her walker, and trying to call Charles Schwab.

"I want to talk to Chuck," she said into the receiver.

The video was Muranaka's family's attempt to get through to the investment giant.

"We were feeling kind of helpless and the video was a way for us to really give ourselves a voice," said Doug Kiang, Muranaka's grandson.

Kiang made the video for his mother, Gail Woliver, and his grandmother who invested over $100,000 in retirement savings in Schwab's Yield Plus fund.

"They assured me that this was a sure thing, it was as sure as money market, that it was supposed to be safe," Woliver said.

When the fund collapsed so did their portfolio.

"We lost $30,000, which to Schwab, I guess, is not a great deal but to us it's a lot," she said.

Woliver and Muranaka are suing Schwab. So are other investors around the country. They allege they were misled by Schwab's marketing of the fund and weren't told where their money was being invested.

"I had no idea that my mom's money was being invested in mortgage backed securities," Woliver said.

Reportedly, about fifty percent of the fund's value was in mortgage related securities that fell during the sub-prime mortgage fallout.

"Charles Schwab has spent so much to portray themselves as friendly and approachable and that wasn't our experience," Kiang said.

In a statement sent to Hawaii News Now, Schwab spokesman David Weiskopf said the company has "worked with the family to find a fair and reasonable settlement to their case, and will continue to even though we made all the required disclosures."

He said the fund's losses "were caused by the profound collapse of the financial markets...that the country's foremost experts failed to anticipate."

"That would be my fondest hope, that we could do that -- that we could sit across the table and that it would be made right," Woliver said.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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