U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Litigation Release No. 18705 / May 12, 2004
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION v. PREMIER MARKETING & INVESTMENTS, INC. and NICHOLAS ROBLEE a/k/a NICHOLAS RICHMOND, Civil Action No. CV 03-0342 RGK (JTLx) (C.D. Cal.)
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. NICHOLAS A. ROBLEE a/k/a NICHOLAS A. RICHMOND, Criminal Action No. CR 03-322(A)-LGB (C.D. Cal.)
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO OPERATING PRIME BANK SCHEME
On May 3, 2004, Nicholas Roblee, the head of a phony investment firm who ran a "prime bank" scheme that fraudulently raised more than $4 million from investors across the United States, pleaded guilty to eight felony counts -- four counts of wire fraud and four counts of money laundering - in an action brought by the United States Attorney for the Central District of California. Roblee, who was the president of Los Angeles-based Premier Marketing & Investments, Inc., is scheduled to be sentenced on September 13. Roblee, age 35, a resident of Encino, California, also uses the name Nicholas Richmond.
Previously, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed an emergency civil injunctive action against Roblee and Premier on January 14, 2003, charging them with violating the registration and antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws. On January 15, 2003, the Court issued a temporary restraining order as to Roblee and Premier, as well as orders freezing their assets, prohibiting the destruction of documents, granting expedited discovery, and for an accounting. On January 23, 2003, the Court issued an order preliminarily enjoining Roblee and Premier from violating the registration and antifraud provisions, and continuing the other orders issued on January 15, 2003.
In its complaint, the Commission alleged that the defendants had raised about $4.5 million by representing to investors that they would invest their monies in a variety of "high-yield" investment programs involving, among other things, short-term promissory notes, real estate-related bridge loans, and the purchase and sale of precious metals; that these programs would generate returns of up to 200% per month; and that investor funds would remain at all times in a "trust account" and never be put at risk. In reality, Roblee used investor monies to pay for Premier's operating expenses and his personal living expenses, to finance adult film productions and an adult-content website, and to make returns of purported profits and principal to Premier investors.
On September 24, 2003, a default judgment was entered against Premier in the Commission's civil action, permanently enjoining Premier from violating the registration and antifraud provisions and ordering it to disgorge $4,497,451 plus prejudgment interest. The Commission's civil action against Roblee remains pending.