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SEC Acts Against Advisor

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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is accusing an investment advisor of using free lunches to persuade older consumers to shift money from existing investments into equity indexed annuities.

The SEC and the Hawaii securities commissioner have filed separate securities actions against Mark K. Teruya, president of Senior Resources of Hawaii Inc., Honolulu, which also does business as USA Wealth Resources, Honolulu, officials say.

The SEC filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court in Honolulu, and the Hawaii securities commissioner has filed a preliminary order to cease and desist, officials say.

Both state and federal regulators have accused Teruya and his firm of using breakfast and dinner seminars to attract retirees, then arranging for one-on-one follow-up meetings.

During the follow-up meetings, Teruya induced clients to “sign a series of pre-printed, fill-in-the-blank forms by misrepresenting the purpose of the forms,” then using the forms to sell the senior’ existing securities holdings without their knowledge or authorization, officials allege.

Teruya generated $2 million in commissions by investing the proceeds from the sales in EIA contracts, officials allege.

The SEC is asking in its complaint for preliminary and permanent injunctions, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest, and civil penalties.

Teruya, who has contributed articles to business newspapers in Hawaii and has registered his firm with the Chamber of Commerce, Honolulu, was not available to comment.

An individual who answered the telephone at Teruya’s firm said no one there was taking questions about the SEC and Hawaiian regulatory actions.

Before the firm opened for business Monday, a recorded message told the firm’s clients that their assets are safe.


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