FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Contact: Ryan Hobart, (573) 526-4734
Contact: Mindy Mazur, (573) 522-9756
Carnahan Closes Southwest Missouri Securities Fraud Cases
Securities Division to Assist with Ongoing Federal Investigation
Jefferson City, Missouri — Secretary of State Robin Carnahan's Commissioner of Securities, Matt Kitzi, recently issued two final orders that brought cases involving a Southwest Missouri scam artist and related parties to a close.
Both orders concern Steven E. Gwin, a former insurance agent from Ozark, Mo., who misled his senior citizen clients and used their investment funds for personal expenses. Gwin, who previously served time in federal prison for fraud, offered unregistered, nonexempt securities to Missouri investors and put their savings into special accounts that he controlled.
Gwin set up seminars targeting senior investors and during these meetings he promised potential clients that their money would be placed into a “safe investment” such as an annuity. Instead, Gwin diverted money through a series of transactions into companies controlled by him and his partners in Arkansas and Nevada.
"Taking advantage of investors the way these people did is wrong and it's illegal," Carnahan said. "Our Securities Division works hard to protect investors and ensure that bad actors like these don't have the opportunity to cause further harm to Missourians."
As part of the final orders Gwin is ordered to pay a total of $36,000 in civil penalties. His co-respondent in one of the schemes, Leatson Landes of Hot Springs National Park, Ark., must pay $10,000 in penalties, and his co-respondent in the other matter, Delbert Huelle of Reno, Nev., must pay $8,500. The two companies were also fined, and all respondents are ordered to pay a total of over $8,000 in investigation costs.
None of those subject to the final orders ever responded to cease and desist orders entered in these cases in the summer of 2007, or requested a hearing. Commissioner Kitzi has referred the matter to a federal law enforcement agency for further action.
For more information regarding investments and fraud protection, visit the Secretary of State's web site at www.MissouriSafeSavings.com or call the toll free investor hotline at 1-800-721-7996.
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