Jefferson City, Mo. — Secretary of State Jason Kander shut down a scam run by William R. Penson, Jr. of St. Louis, Mo., and his company, Penson Associates, LLC. The cease and desist order alleges Penson collected at least $250,000 from four investors after promising unrealistic returns ranging between 12 and 20 percent in a matter of months.
The order alleges Penson convinced individuals to invest funds to finance real estate loans with contractors rehabbing homes. Penson assured investors the risk was low because he had collateral on all properties and had the ability to take the properties if contractors failed to pay. One individual invested $8,000 with Penson in a China real estate investment, which he was told had zero risk because Penson would cover the difference if the investment did not reach the promised 20 percent return.
"Any time you’re approached with an investment opportunity that promises high rewards and no risk, that should be a big red flag," Kander said. "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. One quick call to the toll-free Investor Protection Hotline can help Missourians protect themselves from fraud."
According to the order, Penson commingled investor funds with his personal and/or business funds and paid personal expenses, including payments to Nordstrom, Delta Air, Direct TV, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, AAA Life Insurance Company, Verizon Wireless and made cash withdrawals.
The order alleges Penson filed a voluntary Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition on Aug. 13, 2012, and again on Jan. 17, 2014, in the Eastern District of Missouri.
The order seeks restitution, fines and the cost of the investigation. 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.