Legal

SEC Charges Two Texas-Based Investment Advisors Over Alleged $18 Million Ponzi Scheme

Stephen Little Reporter 9 December 2013

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SEC Charges Two Texas-Based Investment Advisors Over Alleged $18 Million Ponzi Scheme

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has charged two Austin, TX-based investment
advisors for allegedly operating an $18 million ponzi scheme involving
purported investments in oil and gas projects.

According to a complaint filed by
the SEC last week, Robert Helms and Janniece
Kaelin misled investors about their experience in the oil and gas industry
while raising nearly $18 million for supposed purchases of oil and gas royalty
interests. 

The SEC
alleges that Helms and Kaelin only used only a fraction of the offering
proceeds for that purpose and that a vast majority of investor funds were used
to make ponzi payments and cover various personal and business expenses.

While
promising that they would use more than 99 per cent of the
investment proceeds to acquire oil and gas royalty interests, they invested
only 10 per cent of the proceeds. The SEC said
Helms and Kaelin began offering investments in 2011 through Vendetta
Royalty Partners and attracted at least 80 investors in more than 12 states.

The SEC’s
complaint also charges Deven Sellers of Arvada, CO, and Roland Barrera of
Costa Mesa, CA, with illegally selling
investments for Helms and Kaelin without being registered with the SEC. They
also allegedly misled investors about the sales commissions and referral fees
they were receiving.

 

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