Everyday we see new, mini-scams pop up, but this one sounds particularly ridiculous. The SEC has brought what appears to be the first case of ‘TARP fraud’ (that is, if you don’t think the whole thing is a fraud).
The Securities and Exchange Commission today took emergency action to charge Nashville, Tenn.-based investment advisor Gordon B. Grigg and his firm ProTrust Management, Inc. with securities fraud, and obtained a court order freezing their assets. The SEC alleges that Grigg and ProTrust defrauded clients out of at least $6.5 million and misrepresented that their money was invested in the federal government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and other securities that, in reality, do not exist.
According to the SEC’s complaint, Grigg is a self-purported financial planner and investment advisor, but neither he nor his firm is registered with the SEC or a state regulator. The SEC alleges that Grigg obtained control over funds of at least 27 clients since 2007 and falsely claimed to have invested their money in securities described as “Private Placements.” Grigg created fraudulent account statements reflecting his clients’ ownership of these non-existent securities. The SEC further alleges that Grigg began falsely claiming in December that ProTrust had the ability to invest client funds in government-guaranteed commercial paper and bank debt as part of the TARP program. Grigg also falsely claimed to have partnerships and other business relationships with several of the nation’s top investment firms.
This isn’t Gordon B. Grigg’s (great name) first run-in with the law. He’s listed on a North Dakota securities site as having received a cease and decist order in 2006. Sounds like he just packed up and went to Nashville.
Update: You can find a cached version of his hilarious website here. He describes himself as both a financial expert and a general life coach. And on this site, it says: “GORDON GRIGG WAS CHOSEN AS THE TENNESSEE BUSINESSMAN OF THE YEAR BY THE NATIONAL REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE AND WAS SELECTED TO REPRESENT THE STATE OF TENNESSEE ON THE NEW PRESIDENTIAL BUSINESS COMMISSION “
We have no idea if that’s true. Here’s a screengrab of the site. We think you’ll agree, he looks like a real winner.