FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 13, 2009
Contact: Laura Egerdal, (573) 526-0949
Contact: Ryan Hobart, (573) 526-4734
Carnahan Puts a Stop to Insurance Investment Scheme
Jefferson City, Missouri —– Officials in Secretary of State Robin Carnahan's office ordered a St. Charles County man to stop the sale of unregistered investments in life insurance policies.
James Staley of St. Charles County is accused of offering and selling unregistered investments in life insurance policies through Wealth Financial International, LLC, a Chesterfield company he organized. Staley allegedly told investors their money would be used to pay the premium on a wealthy person's life insurance policy, and, in return, they would receive a percentage ownership of the policy.
Staley also allegedly convinced a 62-year-old Missouri woman to invest $400,000 in the life insurance scheme by taking money out of annuities that he had sold her previously. Taking money out of the annuities caused her to lose over $38,000 in surrender penalties. It is also thought that a second Missouri investor lost $26,000 in surrender penalties when he took money out of annuities to make a $90,000 investment with Staley.
"We've seen too many examples of brokers and investment advisers looking out for their own best interest and not their clients'." said Carnahan. "In these uncertain times, it is more important than ever for investors to be very careful about whom they are doing business with and the investments they choose."
The Division's investigation revealed that the investments were not registered with the Securities Division and that Staley and the companies named are not registered to offer or sell securities in Missouri. The order also states fraud was committed through false statements in the offer and sale of these securities.
Additionally, Staley failed to comply with a February subpoena ordering him to provide information about the insurance investment scheme. Further actions could result in penalties against Staley and his company, as well as the out-of-state Respondents from California and Las Vegas.
For more information regarding investments and fraud protection, visit the Secretary of State's online Missouri Investor Protection Center at www.MissouriSafeSavings.com or call the toll free Investor Protection Hotline at 1-800-721-7996.
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