FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Contact: Carrie Bebermeyer, (573) 526-0949
Contact: Ryan Hobart, (573) 526-4734
Carnahan Reels In Ozark Man In Bait And Switch Scam
Jefferson City, Missouri - Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahanís Commissioner of Securities Matt Kitzi recently issued a Cease and Desist Order against Steven Gwin, of Ozark, Mo., and several others for allegedly misleading senior investors and using their money for personal expenses.
Gwin, who previously served time in federal prison for fraud, was charged with offering unregistered, nonexempt securities to Missouri investors, in order to put their savings into special accounts that he controlled.
Initially, the investors’ money was transferred to new accounts at Sterling Trust Company, a firm not named as a respondent in this matter. However, the investors’ money was quickly sent to accounts at First Nevada Marketing, Inc., without most investors’ knowledge. Gwin promised investors that their money would be put in a “safe investment” with Sterling Trust Company that would provide them with a higher return than their current investments.
Both First Nevada Marketing and its president, Leatson Landes, of Hot Springs National Park, Ark., are also named as respondents in the matter.
The investigation found that during a two year period, more than $1.3 million was transferred between accounts controlled by Gwin. Those funds were used for credit card debt owed by Gwin’s family members, money for Gwin’s wife, and expenses at a Springfield, Mo., country club. Only $12,000 remains of the investors’ funds.
“It is outrageous for someone to prey on Missouri seniors in this way,” said Carnahan. “This case is a tough reminder about the importance of finding out all you can about the people you entrust with your money. I encourage Missourians to call our Investor Protection Hotline before they consider turning over their hard-earned savings.”
Gwin generated potential investors by conducting seminars targeting older investors. During the seminars he would discuss tax, investment, and insurance issues with the participants. In addition to his failure to disclose important facts and risks about the investments, Gwin also failed to tell prospective investors that he had a felony fraud conviction.
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 protection hotline at 1-800-721-7996.
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