TUESDAY, AUGUST 17, 2010
Why you should only deal with longstanding, trusted advisors and do your homework:
LANSING – The Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR) has taken action against several multi-million dollar West Michigan investment schemes. The agency ordered Kalamazoo-based insurance agency American Benefit Concepts (ABC) and its president Jason Juberg and vice president Matt Harper to cease and desist from the sale of unregistered securities products. The agency also determined the company and individuals were not properly registered with the state to sell securities. OFIR also took similar action against David McQueen and his companies, Grand Rapids-based Diversified Global Finance (DGF) and Byron Center-based Diversified Liquid Asset Holdings (DLAH).
An OFIR investigation found that these intertwined companies and individuals severely harmed Michigan consumers through allegedly fraudulent real estate, alternative energy, hedge fund and short term loan investment scams. OFIR has identified at least 400 victims totaling more than $50 million in investment money.
“Michigan consumers should take a pass on ‘free lunch’ investment seminars—they’re a favorite tool of scammers looking for an easy mark,” OFIR Commissioner Ken Ross said. “It’s an important reminder for Michigan investors to call OFIR before you give anyone your hard earned money.”
Before entering into an investment, Michigan consumers are encouraged to contact OFIR and the agency can run a check on any investment firm, professional or product. OFIR can be reached at (877) 999-6442 or online at: www.michigan.gov/ofir.
In November, 2008, OFIR took action against Diversified Lending Group, Inc. (DLG), a California-based real estate scam. Through its continued investigation of DLG, OFIR found that the company’s offerings were being promoted by ABC agents and that these agents were also soliciting DGF and DLAH products. ABC and its agents solicited investors at free lunch seminars, in-home presentations and through cold call leads.
OFIR determined that both DGF and DLAH issued contracts involving investment opportunities that involved real estate, alternative energy, hedge funds and short term loans. DGF and DLAH claimed they would pay annual returns of up to 12% and that investors could withdraw their funds at anytime with nominal penalties. Some investors did receive alleged dividend checks, but a vast majority never had access to their funds.
Violations of the Uniform Securities Act may subject any of the above mentioned companies and individuals to up to 10 years imprisonment and civil fines.
OFIR has handed the results of its investigation over to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
If consumers think they may be a victim of any of the above-mentioned investment schemes, they are asked to contact OFIR toll-free at (877) 999-6442.
OFIR’s investigation found that these investment offerings should have raised a number of red flags for consumers, which included:
• Investors received no financial statements, risk disclosures or other disclosures that would have been material to a reasonable investor before investing.
• The companies and individuals provided no documentation that they were registered with the state.
To view OFIR’s cease and desist orders, visit:
Public Information Officer
Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation
Phone: (517) 335-1700
Posted 8:55 AM