SEC Halts Investment Scheme Targeting Military Personnel
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced fraud charges and an asset freeze against a man living in central Texas accused of telling false tales about his stockbroking experience to lure current and former U.S. military personnel into investing with him.
The SEC alleges that Leroy Brown Jr. touted his own military connection as an Army veteran while soliciting members of the military and other investors through his firm LB Stocks and Trades Advice LLC. Brown falsely assured investors, including some stationed at nearby Fort Hood, that he had many years of experience in the securities markets. He specifically claimed to have all the necessary licenses and registrations to conduct securities business. In reality, Brown is not a licensed securities professional and his firm is not registered with the SEC, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or any state regulator. Brown and his firm have no evident experience with investments.
The SEC further alleges that Brown falsely guaranteed investors that he would double or triple their money within 120 days.
“Trust is a bedrock principle to our military, and we allege that Brown exploited his own military experience and abused that trust for his own personal gain,” said David Woodcock, Director of the SEC’s Fort Worth Regional Office. “Investment fraud is always wrong, but it’s especially pernicious when perpetrated against those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.”
The SEC’s complaint, filed yesterday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, charges Brown and LB Stocks and Trades Advice with securities fraud and conducting an unregistered securities offering. The SEC is seeking financial penalties and disgorgement of ill-gotten gains as well as permanent injunctive relief. The court has issued an order temporarily freezing all assets of Brown and LB Stocks and Trades Advice.
The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Chris Ahart and Melvin Warren of the Fort Worth Regional Office, and the case was supervised by Jim Etri. The SEC’s litigation is being led by B. David Fraser. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas, the U.S. Secret Service, and the Texas Department of Public Safety - Criminal Investigations Division.