FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 22, 2015
Contact: Stephanie Fleming, (573) 526-0949
Kander Stops St. Louis Scam Artist Defrauding Senior Investors
Jefferson City, Mo. — Secretary of State Jason Kander today shut down an investment scheme run by Joanna L. Rich of Wildwood, Mo., and FSG Fundraising, LLC (FSG). The cease and desist order alleges Rich collected in excess of $249,000 from at least seven investors who were promised an unrealistically high 10 percent annual return and a 10 percent premium bonus.
Rich is an insurance agent associated with Financial Solutions Group and, according to the order, solicited at least seven investors, one of whom was a client of Financial Solutions Group. According to the order, Rich provided some investors with false quarterly statements—on Financial Solutions Group letterhead—reflecting growth in the investors’ funds. However, FSG was not actually making any profit to pay investors.
"All too often, scam artists prey on Missouri seniors to try and steal their hard-earned savings. I’m happy we were able to shut down this scheme before more people were hurt, and we will work tirelessly to get these senior citizens their money back,” Kander said. “Before investing their hard-earned savings, I encourage Missourians to make sure the offering individual has the appropriate credentials to sell securities. Folks can call the toll-free Investor Protection Hotline as a first line of defense in protecting themselves from fraud."
The order alleges Rich and FSG commingled investor funds with Rich’s personal funds and used these funds for Rich’s personal expenditures, including payments to her son and the owner of Financial Solutions Group, cash withdrawals in excess of $34,000 and debit card purchases totaling more than $110,000 at businesses such as Ameristar Casino Resort and Spa, Kmart, Traffic Law Hotline, Big Daddy’s Fireworks, the Chicago White Sox, Majestic Nails, St. Louis Zoo and Six Flags.
The order also alleges Rich told some investors their money would be used for the startup of FSG, and investors were encouraged to invest for three years before making withdrawals in order to receive the premium bonus. However, neither Rich nor the investment product were registered with Kander’s office, as required by law. Kander’s office is seeking restitution, fines and payment for 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.