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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission


LITIGATION RELEASE NO. 16341 / October 25, 1999

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Benjamin Franklin Cook, et al.

#3-99CV05701-R, USDC, NDTX (Dallas Division)

On October 20, 1999, Benjamin Franklin Cook of Carefree, Arizona was located and arrested by U.S. Marshals in a Las Vegas, Nevada casino. A warrant has been issued for Cook's arrest on October 8, 1999, by Judge Jerry Buchmeyer of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, after finding that Benjamin Franklin Cook was in contempt of the Court.

On March 16, 1999, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a proceeding against sixteen (16) individuals and entities, including Cook and his related company, Dennel Finance Limited. The Commission alleges that Cook engaged in a fraudulent scheme to offer and sell unregistered "prime bank" securities throughout the United States. The Commission further alleges that Cook targeted religious groups and persons investing retirement funds, and that he cheated more than 100 investors nationwide of $30 million in non-existent "prime bank" note programs. In connection with the Commission's filing, the Court ordered Cook to promptly deliver assets in his control to a court appointed receiver, and ordered that Cook refrain in any way from disturbing those assets. Despite the Court's Order, Cook failed or refused to deliver the assets, which included seven (7) Cashier's Checks totaling $694,850.

Subsequently, on April 2, 1999, the Court entered a Preliminary Injunction restraining Cook from making any payment or expenditure of funds and from making any false or untrue statements to investors. In addition, the Court further ordered Cook to repay those funds obtained from investors in his illegal "prime bank" scheme.

Because of Cook's failure to appear before the Court pursuant to an order to show cause, his failure to deliver the assets, and his failure to refrain from interfering with the Commission's subpoenas directed to other persons, Judge Buchmeyer ordered Cook jailed until such time that he complies with the Court's orders, including the return of assets. Judge Buchmeyer also ordered that Cook be fined an additional $50,000 for each act of interference with the Commission's subpoenas directed to other persons. Additionally, the Court ordered that all pleadings filed by Cook denying the allegations of the Commission be stricken in their entirety.

Cook is being detained by federal authorities and is expected to be transported to Dallas, where he will be incarcerated.