Posts Tagged ‘financial scams’

Protect yourself with help from FINRA*

You Can Protect Yourself from Fake Check Scams

  • Mystery Shopping Scam

  • Modeling Scam

  • Unexpected Check Scam

Here’s How (from FINRA’s investor newsletter)

  • Know the hallmarks of fraud. Fake check scams typically have a number of red flags, such as:
    • Typos: Watch out for online postings or emails that are riddled with typos and poor grammar.
    • Mismatched names: Compare the name of the person or company posting the opportunity with the name on the check you receive—and beware if they don’t match.
    • Pressure to act quickly: Be aware that it can take 10 days or even more for your bank to determine that a check is counterfeit. Don’t wire or transfer funds until you have verified with your bank that the check has cleared—even if the bank allows you to withdraw the money sooner.

If you receive a suspicious check, be sure to contact one or more of the following organizations right away: your local police, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center), or the U.S. Postal Inspections Service (if the check arrived by U.S. mail).

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Maine’s Office of Securities Takes Action Against the Unlicensed Sale of Unregistered Investment Products

GARDINER, MAINE — Securities Administrator Judy Shaw has announced that Maine’s Office of Securities is actively pursuing cases in which unlicensed individuals offer investment products, as well as cases in which licensed professionals sell products that are not registered in the State. In highlighting her agency’s commitment to protecting the public from unauthorized investment sales practices and financial scams, Administrator Shaw pointed to a recently concluded case.

Shaw announced that a Consent Order has been executed against the unlicensed sales of an unregistered investment product by Jesse Bean of Calais. The product was a one-year promissory note offered by Genesis Fulfillment Management, LLC. Mr. Bean violated Maine securities law (Title 32, §§ 16401 and 16402) when he acted as an unlicensed broker-dealer or unlicensed agent of a broker-dealer when he offered and sold the Genesis promissory note to a Maine resident.

To fund the purchase of the Genesis promissory note, Bean convinced the 78 year old Maine resident to surrender a Bankers Life and Casualty Equity Indexed Annuity (“Bankers Life EIA”) that Bean had sold to the Maine resident for $51,530.66 approximately one year earlier. In surrendering the annuity, the Maine resident was assessed a charge of 10% of the value of the annuity, or $5,039.29.

Bean recommended to the Maine resident that he invest in the Genesis promissory note despite the surrender charge because (a) he would recover the surrender charge within one year , and (b) he would make significantly more money overall if his funds were invested in the Genesis promissory note rather than the Bankers Life EIA.

At no time was the Genesis promissory note registered in Maine. The value of the property purchased by Genesis using the Maine resident’s money was not worth more than the money provided by the resident, as had been represented, nor was it fully collateralized. Contrary to the representation made to the Maine resident that his funds would pay only 70% of the purchase price of the property, closing documents show that the Maine resident’s funds covered 100% of the cost to purchase the property, including all closing costs; thus, Genesis did not contribute 30% of the purchase price.

In signing the Consent Order, Bean is barred from associating with any issuer, broker-dealer, or investment adviser in Maine for a period of two years. In lieu of a civil penalty, Bean shall pay $5,000 in restitution to the heirs of the Maine resident. The first two installment payments of this restitution have been paid by Bean and will be distributed by the Office of Securities to the heirs.

“Maine’s Office of Securities take pride in the fact that most investment firms and their employees have good reputations and act in the best interest of their clients,” Shaw commented. “However, this Office will aggressively pursue anyone who tries to take advantage of a potential investor. Often times, the victims are seniors with little time or opportunity to recoup their losses. We won’t tolerate unethical behavior in the sales of securities in Maine.”

In 2010, Maine’s Office of Securities ordered restitution totaling more than $6.4 million to investors. The Office obtained an additional $164,000 in restitution for Maine investors without taking formal action. The Office also imposed more than $900,000 in fines on violators of securities laws last year.

Shaw encourages all investors to check the license status of anyone offering to sell an investment product, and to make sure the product is properly registered in Maine. That information and general resources for consumers are available from the Office of securities at http://www.maine.gov/pfr/securities or by calling toll-free 1-877-624-8551 (TTY: 888-577-6690). People wishing to question a sales practice or submit a complaint are also encouraged to contact the Office.

The Office of Securities oversees the securities industry in Maine. It is part of Maine’s Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, which encourages sound ethical business practices through the regulation of insurers, financial institutions, creditors, investment providers, and numerous professions and occupations for the purpose of protecting the citizens of Maine. Consumers can learn more about the Office and its resources online at http://www.maine.gov/pfr/securities.

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