SEC Gets Emergency Relief Prime Bank Scheme

SEC v. Bernard H. Butts, et al., Case No. 13-23115-CIV-MARTINEZ (S.D. Fla.).  On September 9, 2013, the SEC announced that it has obtained an emergency asset freeze and temporary restraining order in connection with a prime bank investment scheme.  According to the SEC, Bernard H. Butts, Jr.; Fotios Geievelis, Jr., a/k/a Frank Anastasio; Worldwide Funding III Limited LLC; Douglas J. Anisky; Sidney Banner, Express Commercial Capital LLC; and James Baggs raised more than $3.5 million.  The SEC alleges that Geivelis, on behalf of Worldwide Funding, told investors that they would receive profits of around $8.7 million on investments of $60,000-$90,000 in less than two months.  The SEC alleges that investors were promised returns of 14% per week for 40 to 42 weeks.  Geivelis and Butts allegedly told investors that their money would stay in escrow until Worldwide Funding had acquired the bank instruments necessary to generate the promised returns.  In reality, Butts took the money and gave about 45% to Geivelis, 10% to sales agents, and he kept 45% for himself.  According to the SEC, no investor money was actually used to acquire bank instruments.  Anisky, Banner, Express Commercial Capital, and Baggs all sold interests in the fraudulent scheme.  The SEC charged all defendants with violations of Sections 5(a), 5(c), and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act, and Rule 10b-5 thereunder.  The complaint also charges Butts, Geivelis, Anisky, Banner, Express Commercial Capital, and Baggs with violations of Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act.  The SEC also named Bernard H. Butts, Jr. PA; Butts Holding Corporation; Margaret A. Hering; Global Worldwide Funding Ventures, Inc.; and PW Consulting Group, LLC as relief defendants.  The SEC believes that these parties may have received ill-gotten assets from the fraud that should be returned to investors.  In addition to the emergency relief, the SEC is also seeking permanent injunctions, disgorgement, and financial penalties from all defendants.

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