FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Contact: Communications Department, (573) 526-0949
Carnahan Shuts Down Financial Scheme in Springfield
Jefferson City, MO – Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan today announced an enforcement action against Christopher Hanson and his Springfield-based companies concerning the alleged sale of unregistered securities in a high-yield investment program featuring supposed "leveraging" on U.S. Treasuries.
According to a cease-and-desist order issued by officials in Carnahan's Securities Division, Hanson offered and sold over $80,000 in investments in a scheme with many characteristics of a high-yield investment program (HYIP). HYIPs are a common investment scam featuring trading in prime banks or special banking platforms and promising very high profits or returns; in actuality, these prime banks or platforms do not exist. Hanson allegedly misled investors by failing to disclose that neither he nor the investments were registered in Missouri and promising some investors returns of between $400,000 and $750,000.
"In tough economic times, everyone is looking for ways to make money, which gives fraudsters ample opportunities to pull schemes directly from the pages of the fraud playbook," Carnahan said. "It's more important than ever to check out anyone offering an investment by calling the Investor Protection Hotline and remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
The cease-and desist-order alleges that Hanson sold unregistered securities and committed securities fraud by failing to disclose material information to investors. According to the order, Hanson assured investors that their investments were risk free or "safe" and were backed by a U.S. Treasury program. Hanson promised investors that they would quickly receive high rates of return on their investments, some in as little as 24 hours. To date, investors have not received any return on their investments.
The order states that Hanson explained to Securities Division investigators that he was obtaining a $4 million business loan from a commercial bank and would repay investors, plus interest, from the proceeds of the loan. The order alleges that upon contacting the bank, investigators learned that Hanson did not have an account with the bank or a current or past pending loan application.
Hanson and his companies face in excess of $72,000 in penalties and the possibility of paying restitution to harmed investors. Respondents 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 the secretary of state's online Investor Protection Center at MissouriInvestorProtection.gov or call the toll-free Investor Protection Hotline at 800-721-7996.
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To find out more about Missouri's secretary of state's office, visit www.sos.mo.gov.
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