Forced Out of Retirement

Many elderly BFA investors have other things besides lawsuits to occupy their time. After their life savings were frozen by BFA earlier in August, some investors have been forced to take extraordinary steps to support themselves.

Former retiree Ann Cacace is one such elderly investor. At a time when she thought her life was more financially secure than it had ever been, the Sun City resident has had to get a job to pay a mortgage that previously had been paid with her BFA funds.

Ann's husband, Joseph, 80, a retired upholsterer, is also looking for a job even though his hands, severely crippled by arthritis, prevent him from working at his chosen trade.

After BFA froze her family's life savings -- about $100,000 -- Ann Cacace got a job as a "floater" at a large insurance company. She moves from office to office as a temporary salesperson. It is not unusual for her to work 12 hours a day.

She is not in good health; she has survived two bouts of cancer and her knees are bad.

Nevertheless, Ann Cacace applied for a full-time position, but says she was passed over by the company in favor of younger workers who "could get around better" and were more skilled with computers.

Having experienced the Great Depression, the Cacaces had always been frugal. They never felt they could afford to indulge themselves, but when they came into a small inheritance in 1998, they splurged a little. They bought a used van for $6,000. They took a fishing trip. And they went on a discount cruise to the Panama Canal to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.

They invested the rest of their inheritance and savings -- all the money they have in the world besides small retirement and social security checks -- with the Baptist Foundation of Arizona.

A salesman had told them it was safe. And when they asked about ongoing state investigations of BFA, they say, they were told by BFA officials: "No problem, it's nothing, everybody gets investigated . . . it's just a routine thing."

The Cacaces call or fax BFA every day asking for their money. They've been told BFA is trying to set up a "Hardship Fund" for those in the most need.

But so far, all they get from BFA are carefully worded letters promising nothing.

"I don't think we'll ever get our money back," says Joseph.

Ann has more hope. Maybe someday, she says, why not be optimistic.

In the meantime, she hopes to push for legislation that would require strict regulatory scrutiny of religious investment institutions.

"These people are worse than Keating," she says of BFA officials.

"Keating wasn't a hypocrite. He didn't hide behind the name of the Lord."

 
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