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SEC Shuts Down Fraudulent Investment Adviser Targeting Senior Citizens

On May 22nd, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a press release detailing a Ponzi scheme designed to target the elderly. The SEC filed an emergency action and subsequently obtained a temporary restraining order and asset freeze against Paul Horton Smith Sr. and his various companies, which he used to organize the scheme. Smith Sr., according to the SEC’s complaint, offered and sold securities through his company Northstar Communications LLC.

Smith Sr. allegedly used his other companies to sponsor events, such as financial workshops and free-meal seminars, at which he would promise investors, often elderly people, guaranteed annual interest payments of anywhere from three percent to ten and a half percent if they invested in so-called private annuity contracts.” However, Smith Sr. did not invest the funds he raised in any securities. Instead, he would use those funds to pay returns to previous investors. This is a classic Ponzi scheme.

Smith Sr. and his entities stand accused of raising over $5.6 million from at least thirty-five investors and then paying $5.2 million to those investors in the form of interest payments or principal reward. He and his companies have been charged with violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws. The complaint seeks civil penalties, injunctions, and the return of ill-gotten gains plus interest.

If you have not hired an attorney and wish to discuss any securities related question, please contact David A. Weintraub, P.A., 7805 SW 6th Court, Plantation, FL  33324.  By phone: 954.693.7577 or 800.718.1422.