FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Contact: Laura Egerdal, (573) 526-0949
Contact: Ryan Hobart, (573) 526-4734
Carnahan Stops Insurance Investment Scheme in Neosho
Jefferson City, MO – Officials in Secretary of State Robin Carnahan’s office issued a Cease and Desist Order today against Neosho, Missouri-based Safe Harbor Financial LLC, Travis Winnett and Erron Wright, Jr., for securities fraud. The alleged fraud resulted in the loss of over $300,000 invested in a supposed insurance premium financing plan.
According to today’s order, Winnett and Wright sold six Missouri investors Safe Harbor promissory notes, which offered a return of up to 15%. After persuading investors to transfer their money into specially created IRAs, Winnett would allegedly direct the money to Safe Harbor, in which he serves as president. The order alleges that over the course of six months, Winnett moved most of the money invested with Safe Harbor to his own personal account or used it to pay Wright.
“Investors should be wary of any deal with returns that sound too good to be true,” cautioned Carnahan. “In these tough economic times, it’s more important than ever before to research any investment as well as the person making the offer.”
Winnett, a resident of Neosho and a licensed insurance agent, is currently subject to an August 2007 order issued by the State of Oklahoma requiring him to pay restitution to investors who had invested in Winnett’s prior insurance premium financing plans. In the Oklahoma order, Winnett acknowledged that the plans are securities.
Winnett and Wright were not properly registered with the Missouri Securities Division, and no risks or other important information about the investments were ever disclosed to investors. Additionally, the investment products they offered were not properly registered. Safe Harbor, Winnett and Wright have thirty days to respond to the order and request a hearing.
This is the second action taken by Carnahan’s office this spring involving insurance premium financing plans. On March 31, officials in Carnahan’s office issued a cease-and-desist order against a St. Charles man and related companies involved in similar schemes.
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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