FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Contact: Carrie Bebermeyer, (573) 526-0949
Contact: Ryan Hobart, (573) 526-4734
Carnahan Stops Bad Investment Advice
Timeshare Program Not a Money-Maker for Senior Investors
Jefferson City, Missouri - Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahanís Commissioner of Securities, Matt Kitzi, recently issued a Cease and Desist Order against a handful of individuals and companies, including four Missourians and three overseas companies, charged with unlawfully selling investments in Mexican and Panamanian timeshare programs.
Kitzi ordered Carl Todd of Raymore, Mo., brothers Jayaprakash “Jay” Ghanti and Kirankumar “Kiran” Ghanti, both of Hannibal, Mo., and Rustyn Plunkett of Columbia, Mo., to immediately stop the sale of investments in a timeshare lease-back program through two Mexican companies, Yucatan Resorts, S.A., and Resort Holdings International, S.A., a Panamanian company, Majesty Travel, and a Nevada corporation, Resort Holdings International, Inc.
According to the Order, the companies built, promoted, operated and managed a timeshare program in Cancun, Mexico in which investors were told they could earn between 9% and 11% interest annually for 25 years with a minimum investment of $5,000. At least 38 Missouri investors, ranging in age from 64 to 86, invested a total of over $1,800,000 in the program. It is alleged that Jay Ghanti, Kiran Ghanti, Plunkett and Todd earned commissions in excess of $286,000 from the sale of these securities.
The Ghanti brothers, Plunkett and Todd are charged with offering these investments without registering them as required by Missouri securities laws and with omitting important information or making false statements.
The Order states that many investors did not understand the investment, did not intend to use or manage the timeshare unit themselves, and were only agreeing to the investment because of the high rate of interest promised by the company representatives. Several Missouri investors cashed in annuities, certificates of deposit and IRAs to fund their investment. It appears, however, that no investor received the promised returns.
“Unscrupulous professionals who give bad advice pose a real threat to investors,” said Carnahan. “If an offer sounds too good to be true, investors should use caution and call the Securities Division to find out more about the individual making the recommendation.”
Carl Todd is a former Missouri-licensed insurance agent and was the subject of a January 2007 Final Order issued by Commissioner Kitzi imposing costs and penalties in excess of $40,000 against Todd and a company he controls for their role in an overseas banking investment scam. Jay Ghanti, Kiran Ghanti and Plunkett are Missouri-licensed insurance agents.
Yucatan Resorts has been the subject of several actions by securities administrators in other states, including Connecticut, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. Commissioner Kitzi has referred the matter to a federal law enforcement agency for further investigation.
For more information regarding investments and fraud protection, or for information regarding a company or representative, visit the Secretary of State's web site at www.sos.mo.gov/securities or call the toll free investor hotline at 1-800-721-7996.
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