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Investors urged to verify sellers, products

Four indicted in Fayette County for unregistered sales, fraudulent securities

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2014) — The Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) is urging investors to verify the license/registration of their broker or adviser, as well as the investment products being sold.

fraudThis week, the Fayette County Grand Jury indicted four individuals on multiple Class C or D Felony charges relating to sales of fraudulent securities and activities of unregistered sales persons for companies called Retire America and QS Holdings Inc.

“This case is an example where checking with the DFI to determine if the broker or adviser and the investment product are properly registered may have prevented fraud and theft,” said DFI Securities division director Shonita Bossier. “Many consumers don’t know that this free service exists. We want to spread the word so that citizens are aware of this invaluable resource.”

Securities license/registration can be verified online using the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck tool at http://www.finra.org/Investors/ToolsCalculators/BrokerCheck/index.htm. Or consumers can call DFI’s Securities Division at 800-223-2579. Callers also can inquire about whether complaints or orders have been filed against the seller or firm.

On Monday, the Fayette County Grand Jury indicted: Kenneth Eugene Thomas, 66; Shannon Kay Hurst, 30; Phillips J. Ash, 36; and Roy Myers, 65. Lexington Division of Police Detectives identified 10 victims who have collectively lost more than $3.3 million in relationship to the case.

Anyone with additional information about the case should call police at 859-253-2020, text “tips2020” with a message to CRIMES (274637), or log onto www.bluegrasscrimestoppers.com. Anyone wishing to file a securities complaint should contact DFI at 800-223-2579 or visit http://kfi.ky.gov/complaint/Pages/securities.aspx.