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U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Litigaton Release No. 18480 / December 1, 2003

SEC v. A. B. Financing and Investments, Inc., and Anthony Blissett Case No. 02-23487-CIV-UNGARO-BENAGES (S.D. Fla.)(filed December 6, 2002)

ANTHONY BLISSETT SENTENCED IN RELATED CRIMINAL CASE

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that on November 25, 2003 Anthony Blissett, a defendant in a $51.9 million offering fraud that the SEC halted in December 2002, was sentenced to a 60-month period of incarceration, the maximum statutory sentence, followed by three years of supervised release, based upon his guilty plea to charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud brought by the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida (USOA). In addition to incarceration, the Court also ordered Blissett to pay $27,038,274.48 in restitution to victims of the scheme. The criminal prosecution was handled as part of the Securities Fraud Initiative, a coordinated effort by the SEC's Southeast Regional Office (in Miami), the USAO, and other agencies, to combat securities fraud in South Florida.

Blissett's sentence was based upon criminal charges arising from the same misconduct that led to the SEC's action. According to an Information filed by the USAO, from approximately July 1989 to December 2002, Blissett, as president and chief executive officer of A. B. Financing and Investments, Inc. (ABFI), solicited investors to purchase promissory notes issued by ABFI. According to the information, Blissett and a co-conspirator used sales materials that contained many materially false statements and omissions, some of which are described below, to induce investors to purchase ABFI notes.

  • The materials claimed that ABFI was a successful company that had more than $36 million in assets. In fact, ABFI had a negative net worth of more than $27 million.
     
  • The materials claimed that ABFI insured investors' principal. In fact, ABFI neither insured investor funds nor maintained insurance for the investor funds.
     
  • The materials claimed that investing with ABFI involved "no risk" or "low risk" and that investors were guaranteed a 30% annual rate of return. In fact, an investment in ABFI involved considerable risk and could not guarantee a fixed rate of return.
     
  • The materials omitted to disclose that Blissett was misappropriating investor funds and that Blissett was also using investor funds to make payments to other investors.

The SEC filed its emergency civil action against Blissett and ABFI on December 6, 2002. On that same day, the Honorable Ursula Ungaro-Benages, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Florida, issued various emergency orders including a temporary restraining order and an asset freeze. On the SEC's motion, Judge Ungaro-Benages also appointed Michael I. Goldberg, Esq. as Receiver over ABFI. The SEC's complaint charges ABFI and Blissett with violating the antifraud provisions of the Securities Act of 1933 (Securities Act), the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, and the securities registration provisions of the Securities Act. The SEC's complaint also named certain companies that Blissett controlled as relief defendants.

Blissett and ABFI have consented to permanent injunctions in the SEC's case, without admitting or denying the allegations in the SEC's complaint. In addition, and also without admitting or denying the SEC's findings, Blissett consented to an administrative order that the SEC issued on June 26, 2003. That order bars Blissett from association with any investment adviser.

The SEC appreciates the efforts of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida in this matter.

See also Litigation Release No. 17885 (Dec. 9, 2002), Litigation Release No. 17948 (Jan. 23, 2003), and Investment Advisers Act Release No. 2139 (June 26, 2003).


http://www.sec.gov/litigation/litreleases/lr18480.htm


Modified: 12/01/2003