Four Face SEC Charges in Florida Elder Abuse Scam Involving Free Dinners

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is charging four men with fraud. The regulator claims that Joseph Andrew Paul, James S. Quay, John D. Ellis, Jr., and Donald H. Ellison sought to bilk investors, including seniors, by promising them lucrative returns for their money.

The SEC contends that Ellis and Paul lied about their investment advisory firm’s performance record, generated fraudulent marketing collateral that included performance figures from the website of another firm, and recruited Quay and Ellison to be part of the scheme. The latter two then purportedly used the fraudulent materials to deceive investors who answered a mass mailing that offered a free dinner at a restaurant in Florida. Quay, who previously was found liable for securities fraud and convicted of tax fraud, allegedly used the name “Stephen Jameson” as an alias to hide his real identity. The SEC said that Jameson was not a registered investment professional when the allegedly fraudulent behavior took place, nor was Ellison for most of that time.

“Free Lunch” Seminars
The Commission has warned more than once that when it comes to investment seminars there is no such thing as a “free lunch.” While you, as the attendee, may not have to pay for the food, these seminars are educational programs and investment workshops geared toward getting you to buy an investment product that a host or an affiliate is touting.

While there are plenty of legitimate investment seminars, there are those that have purposely been set up to bilk prospective attendees. At such gatherings there may be fake products sold, misrepresentations about risks and returns made, conflicts of interest related to the products for sale and the information provided, and advertising collateral that is misleading or inaccurate. Unfortunately, older investors continue to be a favorite target of financial scammers.

At Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LTD LLP, our elder financial fraud lawyers are here to work with investors to get their money back.

According to a report released by the Investor Protection Trust, one out of every five Americans over age 65 has been victimized by financial exploitation of or investment fraud. The report said that close to seven million seniors have been taken advantage of via fraudulent scams, investments that were inappropriate for them, or through financial services fees that were unreasonably high. Public Policy Polling conducted the survey for IPT, interviewing over 2,250 older seniors and 73 adults with parents who were seniors.

Unfortunately, it is not only unethical financial advisers that try to defraud older investors. Family members, friends, and acquaintances have also been known to target older seniors. This month, the North America Securities Administrators Association announced that it intends to roll out a training program to help brokers and advisers identify and report possible incidents of elder financial abuse involving clients. The program will provide a guide to internal and external channels where suspicions of fraud can be reported.

Contact our senior investor fraud law firm today. Your initial case consultation is free.

SEC Charges Four in Fraudulent “Free Dinner” Scheme, SEC, April 4, 2016

Seniors: Beware of Investment Seminars (PDF)

Investor Protection Trust