U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 19237 / May 25, 2005
Securities and Exchange Commission v. William Edward Sears and Patricia Jean Sears-Million, Civil Action No. 05-728-JE (D. Ore.).
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that on May 23, 2005, it filed a subpoena enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon against William Edward Sears and Patricia Jean Sears-Million, two former securities brokers who sold securities in the Portland, Oregon area. The Commission issued subpoenas requiring that Sears and Sears Million, husband and wife, testify in an investigation concerning their involvement in the possibly fraudulent offer and sale of securities to investors in Portland and the surrounding area. According to the Commission's court papers, Sears and Sears-Million appeared for testimony but refused to answer certain questions posed by the Commission staff without asserting a valid testimonial privilege.
In its application and supporting papers, the Commission alleges that its staff is conducting an investigation regarding three related companies based in Spokane, Washington: Metropolitan Mortgage & Securities, Co., Inc., Summit Securities, Inc., and Western United Holding Company ("Metropolitan Companies"). The Commission further alleges that Sears and Sears-Million were securities brokers affiliated with Metropolitan Investment Securities, Inc., a subsidiary of one of the Metropolitan Companies. According to the Commission's court papers, Sears and Sears-Million sold more than $30 million in securities issued by the Metropolitan Companies to their clients in the Portland area. The Commission staff is investigating whether there were any fraudulent misrepresentations or omissions in connection with the offer and sale of securities issued by the Metropolitan Companies, or any other violations of federal securities laws.
The Commission alleges in its application that Sears and Sears Million refused to answer questions about their involvement in the offer and sale of securities issued by the Metropolitan Companies, and they did not assert a valid testimonial privilege. The Commission seeks an order that strikes the previous objections raised by Sears and Sears-Million, and compels them to appear promptly for testimony and answer the Commission staff's questions.