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Securities and Exchange Commission

Litigation Release No. 18338 / September 10, 2003

SEC Defendant Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Securities Fraud

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)

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced today that Miami resident Anthony Blissett, a defendant in a $51.9 million offering fraud that the SEC halted in December 2002, has pled guilty to criminal charges brought by the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida (USAO). The prosecution of the matter 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 pled guilty today to conspiracy to commit securities fraud, based on the same misconduct that led the SEC to take action. According to an Information filed by the USAO, Blissett solicited investors to purchase promissory notes issued by his company, A.B. Financing and Investments, Inc. (ABFI). According to the Information, Blissett 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 Information to which Blissett pled guilty states that from at least July 1989 to December 2002, ABFI raised more than $51.9 million from at least 2000 investors, and that investors lost approximately $27.3 million.

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).



Modified: 09/11/2003