CURRAN MOVES TO STOP ATM INVESTMENT FRAUD WARNS UNSUSPECTING INVESTORS OF SCHEME
Baltimore - Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today that his office's Securities Division filed a Complaint and a Motion For a Temporary Injunction, Freeze of Assets and Appointment of a Temporary Receiver against Bankcard Group, Inc., Bankcard Group 1, Inc. and ATM Group Enterprises, LLC ("BGI") and their chief executive officer Andrew H. Williams and officer Benjamin Nworgu, charging them with violating Maryland securities laws by raising millions of investor dollars with promises of a virtually risk free, guaranteed investment. Prince Georgeís County Circuit Court Judge C. Philip Nichols, Jr., found in favor of the Securities Division and granted the temporary injunction against BGI and appointed a receiver to take control of the company and its assets. BGI has offices in Prince Georgeís County and had operated from offices in Baltimore County.
According to the complaint, BGI operated an unregistered and fraudulent automated teller machine ("ATM") investment program. BGI sold investors interests in ATMs, the fees generated by the machines, and shares in BGI itself. The complaint alleges that BGI raised as much as $3 million from at least 130 investors to invest in more than 200 ATMs, while BGI and its officers failed to disclose to investors that they would not actually be investing in ATMs and that the money they were paid would not be paid from income derived from the ATMs.
"We had to file a Complaint and seek emergency relief," Attorney General Curran said, "because BGI has defrauded investors and must be stopped from continuing its fraudulent ATM-investment activities. We must make sure that unsuspecting investors do not suffer additional harm by investing more money in this investment scheme. By filing the Complaint and seeking emergency relief, we can put a stop to these violations."
According to the courtís order, BGI and its officers Williams and Nworgu are enjoined from selling unregistered securities, employing unregistered securities brokers or investment advisers, and from employing a scheme or device to defraud investors. BGI and its agents are further ordered to turn over to a court-appointed receiver the assets and the books and records of BGI. BGI, Mr. Williams, and Mr. Nworgu have the right to answer the allegations in the complaint and to have a hearing on the temporary injunction. As part of this action, the Securities Division is seeking against BGI and its officers a permanent injunction and an order requiring them to make restitution to investors.
Curran emphasized that the Securities Division's investigation of this matter is continuing and urges anyone who invested funds with BGI or Mr. Williams or Mr. Nworgu or who has information concerning their investment programs, to call the Securities Division of his office at 410-230-1754.
Curran reminded investors to call the Securities Division at 410-576-6360 before they invest to find out whether their investment adviser, broker and securities are or should be registered. Even when an investment program looks reasonable, and friends and family trust the promoter, it's better to take a few minutes to verify the status of the investment and its promoters.