FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan 15 2015
Contact: Stephanie Fleming, (573) 526-0949
Kander Halts Springfield Investment Scheme
Jefferson City, Mo. — Secretary of State Jason Kander today issued a cease and desist order against Paul Benton Weeks III of Springfield, Mo., and his company, Lavender Farms, LLC. The order alleges Weeks collected at least $450,000 from two investors after promising returns of 50 to 100 percent.
The order alleges Weeks convinced two individuals to invest funds into what he called a "risk-free" opportunity he had come into through a network of investing "experts." Weeks told investors to wire funds to a Scottrade account under his control, but they were assured they would be able to have access to the account and would receive monthly statements detailing the account transactions, holdings and balance. One individual invested $250,000 with Weeks and was promised a full return plus half of any profits made by the investment, while the other invested $200,000 and was initially promised a 50 percent return by Weeks.
"Calling my office before investing is a proactive way to ensure the individual attempting to handle your hard-earned savings is registered," Kander said. "One quick call to the toll-free Investor Protection Hotline can help investors protect themselves from fraud."
According to the order, Weeks told the first investor he and his wife had applied to finance the construction of a rural orphanage in China and would use a portion of the profits received from the investment for this. The order alleges Weeks fabricated account statements to distribute to investors, reflecting extremely high returns when, in fact, Weeks and/or his wife were using the accounts to make withdrawals for personal use.
An investigation by Kander’s office revealed Weeks had signed promissory notes with both investors, assuring investors their funds would be repaid, and then refused to pay when the notes became due. Allegedly, in at least one instance, the second investor requested a return of invested funds and was told by Weeks they would receive money "…only if you keep your head and not try to disparage me and my family."
The order seeks restitution, fines and the cost of the investigation. As a result of the investigation, Weeks was charged with securities fraud by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office.
Before making an investment decision, Missourians are encouraged to call Kander’s office at 1-800-721-7996 or visit www.MissouriSafeSavings.com.
Visit www.sos.mo.gov to learn more about the Office of the Missouri Secretary of State.