SEC Charges Gary Snisky with Defrauding Elderly Investors

SEC v. Gary C. Snisky, Case No. 1:13-cv-03149 (D. Colo.).  On November 21, 2013, the SEC announced it charged Gary Snisky with defrauding elderly investors.  According to the SEC, Snisky targeted retired annuity holders by using insurance agents to sell interests in his company Arete LLC, which posed as a safe and more profitable alternative to an annuity.  The SEC alleges that Snisky raised $3.8 million from investors who used money from their IRAs or other retirement accounts to invest.  Snisky told investors that they could withdraw principal and earned interest with no penalty after 10 years and get guaranteed annual returns of 6 to 7 percent.  He touted the safety of the investments as well.  The SEC further alleges that Snisky showed salespeople fake account statements reflecting bogus earnings.  He also gave fake account statements to investors.  According to the SEC, investors were told their money would be used to purchase government-backed agency bonds at a discount.  In reality, however, Snisky did not buy bonds.  Instead, he took investor money to pay commissions to his salespeople and make personal mortgage payments.  In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado today announced criminal charges against Snisky.    The SEC charged Snisky with violating Sections 5(a), 5(c) and 17(a) of the Securities Act, Sections 10(b) and 15(a) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5, Sections 206(1), (2) and (4) of the Investment Advisers Act and Rule 206(4)-8, and aiding and abetting violations of section 7(a) of the Investment Company Act.  The SEC seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement, and a financial penalty.

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