Consultants and others offer these tips on avoiding being duped by fraudulent advisors.

1) "Anyone who helps raise capital for a fee should be a registered broker/dealer," said B.T. Atkinson, a partner with Bryan Cave.

2) "Keep your regulators informed about who you are talking to and who you are advancing money … keep your board informed, too," said Christopher Zinski, a partner at Schiff Hardin.

3) "Only deal with service providers whom you can verify within your network of folks you know well and trust," said Justin Barr, president of

4) "If the 'salesman' cannot provide specific examples of completed deals, then the likelihood of them getting a deal done for you is zero," said Pat Rusnak, former CEO of AmericanWest Bank and current CFO of Sterling Financial in Spokane, Wash.

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