FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Contact: Ryan Hobart, (573) 526-4734
Contact: Mindy Mazur, (573) 522-9756
Carnahan Announces Recovery of Over $780,000 for Defrauded Southwest Missouri Investors
Jefferson City, Missouri - Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan appeared today in Springfield, Mo., to announce the completion of an investigation resulting in the recovery over $780,000 in restitution from a firm whose former employee defrauded Missouri investors. Some of the investors receiving restitution were on hand for the announcement.
Carnahan’s Commissioner of Securities, Matt Kitzi, entered into a consent order on November 9, 2007, with Investment Centers of America (“ICA”), the former employer of a Joplin-area investment adviser, Mark L. Henry, who defrauded investors out of over $800,000. The order will recover over one million dollars in restitution, fines and penalties.
Mark L. Henry was a Missouri-registered agent and investment adviser for ICA from October 1994 until September 2005. After his termination, Henry used a personal bank account to fraudulently continue conducting business as a representative of “Investment Centers of America.” Henry placed his clients’ funds into this personal account and used the money to pay off other clients and for personal expenses. One of Mr. Henry’s clients reported his suspicious activities to our office.
Facing improper supervision charges, ICA entered into the consent order and is paying restitution to investors in the amount of $788,000. The company has also agreed to pay $200,000 to the Missouri Investor Education and Protection Fund, a civil penalty to the state of $25,000 and $18,500 for the cost of the investigation. In addition, ICA must hire an independent consultant to review and monitor company policies and procedures.
“This case shows that one watchful citizen who reports suspicious activities by their adviser or broker can stop fraud and scams from happening,” said Carnahan. “Because of these reports to our office I am proud to say individuals were able to recover savings that they have worked a lifetime for.”
Henry did not file a response to the Securities Division’s charges against him, and a final order was entered in his case in March, ordering Henry to pay over $28,000 in penalties and costs. Henry has failed to make payments, and the matter has been referred to the Missouri Attorney General for collection. The Henry case was also referred to Federal law enforcement agencies, and Henry pleaded guilty to federal securities fraud and tax fraud charges.
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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