Securities News Releases
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Contact: Stacie Temple, (573) 526-5076
Contact: Carrie Bebermeyer, (573) 526-0949
Carnahan Orders Joplin Investment Agent to Stop Fraudulent Practices
Jefferson City, Missouri – Secretary of State Robin Carnahan’s Commissioner of Securities Matt Kitzi issued a Cease and Desist Order on November 15 against a Joplin, Missouri man for alleged fraudulent practices in his investment adviser business.
According to the order, Mark L. Henry opened a personal bank account under his name and used it to do business as Investment Centers of America, Inc., a firm where he was a Missouri-registered agent and investment adviser from October 6, 1994, until he was terminated on September 2, 2005. This account was not authorized by ICA, but while employed by ICA and even after his dismissal, Henry collected and placed his clients’ funds into his personal account.
The order states that Henry accepted money from investors under the guise that the funds would be invested. Instead, the money was used to make payoffs to other investors and for Henry’s personal expenses, including $9,000 in payments to adult websites.
Around the time Henry was dismissed by ICA, he is alleged to have conducted a similar scam by falsely presenting himself as a member of an investment company named Harbour Investments. It is thought that Henry opened a personal bank account to do business as Harbour Investments and began accepting money from clients and placing those funds into his personal bank account.
According to the order, at least eight Missouri residents, many of them elderly, lost a total of over $800,000 of their intended investments with Henry.
The Securities Division is working with appropriate authorities as the investigation into this case continues. Carnahan urges anyone who may have invested with Henry to contact the Missouri Investor Hotline at 1-800-721-7996. ICA was not named as a respondent, though the Securities Division is conducting ongoing investigations into this matter.
“It is unfortunate to think that a registered broker would engage in conduct that is so detrimental to investors. I encourage all Missourians considering investing to contact our toll-free Investor Hotline to check out their agents’ track records,” said Carnahan. “One quick call could help save your hard earned money from a fraudulent investment.
For more information regarding investments and fraud protection, or for information regarding a company or representative, call the Missouri Investor Hotline toll-free at 1-800-721-7996 or visit the Secretary of State’s web site at www.sos.mo.gov/securities.