FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 21, 2011
Contact: Ryan Hobart, (573) 526-0949
Carnahan Halts Investment Scheme Run by O’Fallon Man Who Targeted Fellow Church Members
Jefferson City, MO – Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced a Cease and Desist Order was issued against Kevin Brown of O’Fallon, Mo., based on allegations that he fraudulently raised more than $4 million from at least 80 investors, including approximately 20 investors from Missouri. The order states that Brown was a member of the United Pentecostal Church International and sold investments to fellow church members.
“It is important for investors to completely understand any investment, no matter who is offering it or how well they know the salesman,” said Carnahan. “All too often, we investigate cases where dishonest people defraud their friends, neighbors or fellow church members by taking their hard-earned savings.”
According to the order issued by officials in Carnahan’s Securities Division, Brown managed two real estate investment companies, Invision Investments of Columbus, LLC and Invision Investments of St. Louis, LLC, as well as a holding company, Invision Holdings LLC. Brown allegedly enticed people to invest in his real estate businesses and issued promissory notes that promised to pay up to twenty-five percent interest per year. In addition, Brown allegedly offered and sold investments in a California Company, Ubiquity Broadcasting Company (UBC). Records indicate Brown has never been registered as a broker or investment adviser in Missouri.
Brown also allegedly told some investors that UBC was about to “go public” and individuals who purchased UBC stock from him would receive a substantial profit. Brown allegedly instructed investors to write checks to Invision Investments to purchase shares of UBC stock. However, according to the order, Brown was never authorized to offer or sell investments in UBC, and UBC issued letters demanding that Brown stop selling UBC stock. It is also alleged that when Brown was no longer able to transfer shares of stock in UBC to investors, he issued investors stock in one of his own companies.
Brown allegedly advised some Missouri residents that they could invest funds through Sterling Trust, a passive self-directed IRA custodian. State securities regulators and the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission issued a joint investor alert last month warning of the misuse of self-directed IRAs in fraudulent investment schemes. Among other issues, securities regulators are concerned that fraudsters are using self-directed IRAs as a component of their schemes to give investors a false sense of security.
Brown and his companies now face the possibility of paying over $85,000 in penalties and costs and $4 million in restitution to harmed investors. He has 30 days to request a hearing, and the Securities Division is cooperating with other law enforcement agencies. For more information regarding investments and fraud protection, or for information regarding a company or representative, visit the Secretary of State’s online Investor Protection Center at www.MissouriInvestorProtection.gov or call the toll free Investor Protection Hotline at 1-800-721-7996.
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