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Kiwis targeted by 'phantom' stock regulators

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  • Kiwis targeted by 'phantom' stock regulators

    Hi team - news for the kiwi's

    WASHINGTON: New Zealanders are among investors being targeted by con artists operating websites for fake US regulatory agencies officials say.

    The "phantom regulators" – with names like the International Compliance Commission and the Securities Protection Agency – have been brought to the attention of actual regulators, officials from New Jersey to Montana warned yesterday.

    "The US securities markets are known around the world for being among the safest... Con artists are trying to cash in on our good name abroad to lure unsuspecting investors into risky penny stocks and advance fee schemes," said New Jersey Securities Bureau Chief Franklin Widmann.

    For instance, investors in Britain, Australia and New Zealand were targeted by a company called Royal Acquisitions Inc, which offered to buy shares of worthless stock, but asked for an upfront fee, officials said.

    The company is among bogus share traders which New Zealand's Securities Commission warns investors about on its website.

    To make their pitch more convincing, Royal Acquisitions referred investors to a website for the "International Securities Regulatory Commission," said regulators in Montana, where the company and the commission were purportedly based.

    There is no Royal Acquisitions or International Securities Regulatory Commission doing business in Montana, the Montana Securities Department said.

    "We continue to get emails regularly from investors around the world asking about the legitimacy of Royal Acquisitions and the International Securities Regulatory Commission," said Karen Powell, deputy Montana securities commissioner.

    This month the Missouri securities commissioner issued an order against the "Securities Compliance Department," which claims to be a regulator based in Kansas City.

    Missouri officials said the case involved an Australian woman who was bilked out of $US121,000 ($NZ179,126) by a group called Century Group Mergers and Acquisitions. The woman said a man telephoned her claiming to be from the Securities Compliance Department and asked her to send more money.

    In Massachusetts, state regulators said they have filed a complaint against RJL International Ltd., after receiving numerous complaints from overseas investors.

    RJL agents were contacting investors and offering to buy their shares for up to 200 times the market price, but asking for an advance fee, state officials said.

    "At least one investor submitted $US19,000 to RJL, after which all communications with the firm ceased," said the Massachusetts Securities Division in a statement.

    Rather than using a website, RJL encouraged reluctant investors to telephone the "International Public Shareholder Protection Service," an entity that does not exist, officials said.

    News Source

    Cheers

    Marc
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