The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued two investor alerts regarding the use of social media sites as a means for perpetuating investment fraud. Investors who have been the victims of fraud through social media are encouraged to seek the council of an investment attorney to find out about their legal rights and options for recovering their losses.
On January 4, 2012, the SEC charged an Anthony Fields with offering to sell fictitious securities. The Illinois-based investment adviser “offered more than $500 billion in fictitious securities through various social media websites,” according to an SEC press release. Fields’ two sole proprietorships are Anthony Fields & Associates (AFA) and Platinum Securities Brokers. “Fields provided false and misleading information concerning AFA’s assets under managements, clients, and operational history to the public through its website and in SEC filings.”
Furthermore, Fields claimed to be a broker-dealer but was not registered with the SEC, did not maintain proper books and records and did not have adequate compliance policies and procedures in place.
Because legitimate stock brokers and investment advisers are increasingly using social media sites, it can be difficult for investors to identify legitimate offers among instances of stock broker fraud. According to the SEC’s “Investor Alert: Social Media and Investing — Avoiding Fraud,” investors should be wary of unsolicited offers — that is, an offer that you didn’t ask for from a sender you don’t know. In addition, red flags to look out for are offers that sound too good to be true, promises that the investment offers “guaranteed” returns and high-pressure sales tactics.
If you accepted an unsolicited offer that promised “guaranteed” returns, sounded too good to be true and/or used high-pressure sales tactics, you may have been the victim of social media securities fraud. To find out more about your legal rights and options, contact an investment attorney at The Law Office of Christopher J. Gray at (866) 966-9598 for a no-cost, confidential consultation.