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Beware of false profits

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The Securities and Exchange Commission busted a self-proclaimed psychic who claimed he could predict the market’s highs and lows. According to the SEC’s complaint, the advisor, billed as “America’s Prophet,” began soliciting investors in the summer of 2006. The advisor falsely claimed to “have called ALL the highs and lows of the market, giving EXACT DATES for rises and crashes over the last 14 years.” He used his monthly newsletter, website, and appearances on a nationally-syndicated radio show to make numerous false representations about his investment expertise. Claiming he’d pool investor funds to trade in foreign currencies, the advisor instead diverted a portion of the $6 million raised to other purposes. At least $240,000 went to fund his non-profit Prophecy Research Institute.

A former Ohio insurance agent has been sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to nine counts of felony theft, including theft from the elderly. The agent will also be on probation for five years after serving his sentence. According to the Ohio Department of Insurance, the agent took $685,000 in unauthorized loans from nine of his clients’ annuity policies and used the funds for his own purposes. After his indictment, the agent fled to Mexico, where he was apprehended and then extradited to Ohio.

A New York insurance agent collected $5,000 in advance commissions by creating fake applications, according to the New York insurance department. The agent entered fictitious names on 61 applications for worksite-enrolled policies, then submitted them to the insurer between 2006 and 2008. The insurer discovered the applications to be fraudulent after the insureds never remitted premium payments. Charged with larceny, the agent faces up to seven years in prison.


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