Additional Archives
Securities Division Newsletters
August 2015 Newsletter
In this issue we bid a fond farewell to NC Securities Director David Massey as he prepares to retire at the end of August. We are also report on the sentencing in federal court of Claude McDougal in a Ponzi scheme that cost victims in Charlotte and elsewhere $2.5 million, and of James H. Macy in a $4.7 million Ponzi scheme. Please note in our News from the Regulators Section at the end of the newsletter that the CFTC is now accepting whistleblower award claims in the Mason case. The NC Secretary of State’s Office investigated and prosecuted both the McDougal and Mason cases in coordination with the FBI and US Attorney’s Office. Please note we’ve included helpful tips on what to ask when you’re considering a new investment. Also this month we’re including an insightful article from Crowdfund Insider about how crowdfunding is changing the landscape for female entrepreneurs. This month’s issue also includes news on the selection of NC Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall to the head the Securities Committee of the National Association of Secretaries of State, and information on the White House Conference on Aging. We have a story on the Secretary of State's work with the USO of North Carolina to provide a series of vital financial readiness training sessions for North Carolina's military. Also please note two helpful Investor Alerts regarding cybersecurity and understanding broker-dealer fees, as well as an Investor Bulletin from the SEC to educate investors about the recently amended Regulation A. And as always please check out our regular features: the Calendar of Upcoming Events, On the Docket, Recent Enforcement Actions, and News from the Regulators. orcement Actions, and News from the Regulators.

July 2015 Newsletter
This month's edition includes news from the SEC on action it has taken against a self-directed IRA provider in connection to the Ephren Taylor Ponzi scheme, as well as a link to a timely investor alert on the issue of self-directed IRAs and fraud risks. We also include news from the US Attorney's Office on the federal wire fraud charges against Kristine Louise Johnson in a scheme that has allegedly defrauded more than 10,000 investors, including many in the Charlotte area, as well as on the conviction of David Christopher Mayhew of Raleigh in a $2 million investment fraud scheme. Also featured is a report from a conference that drew experts and investigators to Charlotte this month to study the latest trends in financial crime, and a link to a survey of investment adviser firms that shows worries about cybersecurity on the rise in the financial industry. And check out our regular features: the Calendar of Upcoming Events, On the Docket, Recent Enforcement Actions, and News from the Regulators.
 
June 2015 Newsletter
This issue puts a spotlight on several major enforcement actions that culminated in lengthy prison sentences last month in state and federal court, as well as the growing concern about financial elder abuse. We report on the conviction and sentencing of Michael Anthony Jenkins in a $1.79 million commodities futures scam. Jenkins pleaded guilty on May 26 to three counts of felony securities fraud and one count of obtaining property by false pretenses, and was sentenced to a minimum of nine years and eight months in prison. We also report on the sentencing in federal court of several key players in the wide-ranging "Operation Wax House" investment and mortgage fraud scheme. This issue also highlights the growing concern about financial fraud aimed at the elderly as we prepare to mark the 10th anniversary of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall is urging people to keep a keen eye out for financial elder abuse and report it when they suspect it. We also include a link to a disturbing report from the Pew Charitable Trust’s Stateline news service on this growing problem, as well as a helpful Consumer Advisory from the Securities and Exchange Commission on planning for possible diminished financial capacity. This month we also note the retirement of longtime Secretary of State Investor Education Specialist Barbara Bennett, and introduce readers to two new members of our investor education team who are offering IE workshops around the state. We have reprinted a release from the International Organization of Securities Commission (IOSCO), which has published the results of its Survey on Anti-Fraud Messaging, describing the investor education strategies of securities market regulators. Also note a report on FINRA’s launch of a new national ad campaign for its BrokerCheck free online tool for investors. And of course please check out our regular features: the Calendar of Upcoming Events, On the Docket, Recent Enforcement Actions, and News from the Regulators.
 
May 2015 Newsletter
In this issue we report that the NC Secretary of State's Office issued an advisory in recognition of Financial Literacy Month to help raise investor awareness about fees charged by broker-dealer firms for services and maintenance of investment accounts. The advisory, entitled "Understanding Broker-Dealer Fees" is part of the Department's "Informed Investor" series of alerts. We also report that the US Department of Labor is seeking public comment on a proposed rule that seeks to protect consumers from conflicts of interest in the retirement investment marketplace. Under the proposed rule, retirement advisers would be required to act as fiduciaries and put their clients' best interests before their own. We also feature the findings of a report jointly issued by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to help broker-dealers assess, craft, or refine their policies and procedures for investors as they prepare for and enter into retirement. We also include information about a toll-free Securities Helpline designed specifically for older adults by FINRA. The new helpline is available from Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM ET. We report on two alerts issued by the SEC. The first is for investors to beware companies who misuse the SEC's official seal in order to deceive investors into believing that the SEC is endorsing a particular security or company, something the SEC never does. The second alert is designed to educate investors about what happens when a publicly traded company declares bankruptcy. We include a notice from FINRA in which it is reported that the FINRA Board of Governors has approved changes to FINRA's Communications With the Public rules, as well as amendments to the Trading Activity Fee for firms with no customers that are engaged solely in proprietary trading activity for their own accounts. Finally, we include our regular features, the Calendar of Upcoming Events, On The Docket, Recent Enforcement Actions and News from the Regulators.
 
March/April 2015 Newsletter
In this issue, we report on the arrest of Micah Christopher Wilson, 59, of Gastonia who was charged by investigators from the NC Securities Division with two counts of felony securities fraud and two counts of obtaining property by false pretenses. Investigators allege Wilson defrauded victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. We include a notice from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) that it is conducting its first-ever SmartCheckSM Week. During the week of April 6-12, 2015, CFTC staff will highlight efforts to encourage investors to check the background of financial professionals before investing their money. We also report that four defendants have been sentenced to between 34 months to 54 months in prison for their roles in the Operation Wax House fraud investigation. To date, 91 people have been charged and 89 defendants have either pleaded guilty or have been convicted following trial and two are international fugitives. Of the 89 defendants convicted, 11 remain to be sentenced. We also report that the CFTC has filed a civil enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, charging Defendants Maverick International, Inc. and its principals, Wesley Allen Brown and Edward Rubin, with operating a fraudulent commodity pool and other violations of federal commodity laws. Brown currently resides in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Rubin resides in Winnabow, North Carolina. We include a summary of a new research report issued by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation that found that nearly two-thirds of self-reported financial fraud victims experienced at least one non-financial cost of fraud to a serious degree--including severe stress, anxiety, difficulty sleeping and depression. We have reprinted two Investor Bulletins from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) explaining options and options accounts. We also report on the FINRA Investor Education Foundation's Military Spouse Fellowship Program, which is accepting applications through April 17 for its 2015 class of military spouses. We also include our regular features, Calendar of Upcoming Events, On the Docket, and News from the Regulators.
 
March/April 2015 Newsletter
With the number of cyber-attacks aimed at various financial institutions growing each day, the Department of the Secretary of State Securities Division urges investors to contact their own financial services providers -- including their brokers and investment advisers -- to find out what policies and procedures each firm has implemented to safeguard the investor's personal financial information. Included in this issue is a cybersecurity alert with a list of just some of the questions investors should ask. We also report on the latest in the on-going series of workshops the Division recently conducted in Charlotte and Raleigh for those investment advisers subject to the Division's regulatory oversight. We also mark America Saves Week by encouraging investors to think and talk about their personal finances. To help investors do just that, we reprint two investor bulletins from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, one offering tips on how to better manage one's finances, and one detailing how investors harmed by fraudulent investment schemes may recover some of their money. Finally, we include our regular features, our Calendar of Upcoming Events, information about criminal cases that are On The Docket, our Recent Enforcement Actions, and News from the Regulators.