SEC Charges IIIinois Company and Its President with Affinity Fraud Targeting Christian Investors
Litigation Release No. 24597 / September 17, 2019
Securities and Exchange Commission v. John Henderson and Global Resources Leadership LLC, No. 19-civ-06183 (N.D. Illinois, filed September 16, 2019)
Washington D.C., September 17, 2019 - The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged a Naperville, Illinois-based corporation and its founder, president, and CEO for making false and misleading statements in a securities offering that targeted Christian investors.
According to the SEC's complaint, filed in federal district court in Chicago, John Henderson and Global Resources Leadership, LLC (GRL), engaged in an offering fraud, in which they solicited investments in a purported joint venture focused on buying and selling Nigerian crude oil through a false and misleading email solicitation. Among other alleged misstatements, defendants' email falsely claimed that GRL had obtained $200 billion in gold bullion from a purported Native American tribe that also had its own commercial bank, and that GRL's assets would be "monetized and matched" by the governments of Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda, and Ethiopia. Defendants' solicitation, the complaint alleges, targeted individuals associated with a Christian college, Christian church, and other religious organizations with which Henderson was associated, including a church he founded, by employing numerous religious references. The complaint alleges that defendants raised $10,000 through the fraudulent offering, a portion of which Henderson used for personal expenses.
The SEC's complaint charges defendants with violating the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and violations of the registration provisions of Sections 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act. The complaint seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement plus prejudgment interest, and civil penalties.
The SEC's investigation was conducted by Christina Adams and supervised by Fuad Rana and Anita B. Bandy. The SEC's litigation is being led by Nicholas Margida and supervised by Stephan Schlegelmilch.
The SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy, in conjunction with the Division of Enforcement's Retail Strategy Task Force, has issued an Investor Alert about affinity frauds that includes steps investors can take to protect themselves from investment fraud.