SEC Charges Richard and Susan Olive with Defrauding Senior Citizens Investing in Charity

SEC v. Richard and Susan Olive, Case No. 2:13-cv-14047 (S. D. Fl.); SEC v. We the People, Inc. of the United States, Case No. 2:13-cv-14050 (S. D. Fl.); SEC v. William G. Reeves, Esq., Case No. 2:13-cv-14048 (S. D. Fl.).  On February 4, 2013, the SEC announced fraud charges against Richard and Susan Olive for raising millions of dollars selling investments in a so-called charitable organization.  The SEC alleges that the Olives were hired at We The People Inc. and obtained $75 million from hundreds of investors across the U.S.  They sold an investment described as a charitable gift annuity (“CGA”).  The CGAs issued by We The People were unique in that they were issued to benefit the Olives and other third-party promoters and consultants.  Only a fraction of the money invested went to charitable services.  The Olives got more than $1.1 million in salary and commissions, and they misappropriated investor funds for their personal use.  According to the SEC, the Olives tricked elderly investors by lying about the value and financial benefits of We The People’s CGAs.  The Olives also lied about the safety and security of the investments.  The SEC’s complaint charges the Olives with violations, or aiding and abetting violations, of the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws as well as violations of the securities and broker-dealer registration provisions of the federal securities laws. The SEC is seeking injunctive relief, disgorgement and civil monetary penalties.

The SEC also filed separate complaints today against We The People as well as the company’s in-house attorney William G. Reeves. They both agreed to settle the charges without admitting or denying the allegations.  We The People consented to a final judgment that will enable the appointment of a receiver to oversee $60 million of investor assets.  It will also order disgorgement and injunctive relief.  Reeves entered into a cooperation agreement with the SEC, and the terms of his settlement reflect his assistance in the SEC’s inestigation.  Reeves agreed to be suspended from appearing or practicing before the SEC for at least five years, and consented to a final judgment providing injunctive relief.  His financial penalties will be determined at a later date.

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