FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 13, 2012
Contact: Ryan Hobart, (573) 526-0949
Carnahan Halts Nationwide Credit Investment Scheme Hitting Southeast Missouri
Jefferson City, MO - Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan today announced an enforcement action against several Arizona companies and individuals concerning investment contracts related to a suspect credit card machine business.
According to the cease and desist order issued by officials in Carnahan’s Securities Division, Bankcard Empire and Ultimate Business Solutions, LLC, convinced an elderly southeast Missouri resident over the telephone that she would earn a substantial profit from investing in a credit card machine business.
The order states that a representative of Ultimate Business Solutions persuaded a 71-year-old Bertrand, Missouri, resident, with $15,000 in credit card debt at the time of investment, to eventually invest $49,000 debited from eight of the investor’s credit card accounts. The Missouri senior allegedly has not received any returns from the investment. The order also indicates that several of the credit card companies have pursued collection actions against the investor for failing to make all appropriate payments on her accounts.
“I have no tolerance for businesses that prey on Missouri seniors,” Carnahan said. “Because seniors often have years’ worth of savings and credit built up, they are targeted by scam artists. That is why it is so important for them to thoroughly investigate an investment before they agree to anything.”
The cease and desist order alleges the sale of unregistered securities and fraud against the companies and their owners, including Leslie Mersky of Scottsdale, Arizona, who was convicted on federal money laundering charges in 1998 and barred from registration by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2006. Securities regulators in three other states have taken action against the companies and, in some cases, the owners.
The order states that respondents failed to disclose material information to the investor in selling her an investment contract. The order alleges that the investor is on a fixed income and cannot pay all of her monthly combined medical and living expenses, has spent all of her life savings to pay settlements reached with most of the credit card companies, and is currently selling homemade breads at a local farmer’s market “to get by.”
The respondents face up to more than $300,000 in penalties, costs and ordered restitution and have 30 days to request a hearing and contest this matter. The Securities Division is cooperating in this matter with other law enforcement agencies.
For more information regarding investments and fraud protection, or for information regarding a company or representative, visit www.MissouriInvestorProtection.gov or call the toll-free Investor Protection Hotline at 1-800-721-7996.
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