CURRAN OBTAINS INJUNCTION AGAINST
Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today that the Securities Division of his office has obtained a permanent injunction order against Bankcard Group, Inc., its chief executive officer Andrew H. Williams, officer Benjamin Nworgu, and the following entities affiliated with Bankcard Group, Inc.: Bankcard Group 1, Inc., ATM Group Enterprises, LLC, BG Communications, Bankcard Group Communications, LLC, ANDSW Enterprises, Inc (t/a Bankcard Group), Bankcard Leasing & Financing, Bankcard Group, Inc. (t/a ATM Group Enterprises), ATM Group Enterprises LLC, Bankcard Group 2, Inc., Bankcard Group ATM Enterprises, LLC (t/a ATM Group Enterprises), BG Furniture, Bankcard Group, LLC, Bankcard Group Community Resources Center, LLC, Bankcard Group ATM Enterprises, LLC, Bankcard Group Advertising, LLC, Bankcard Group Leasing, LLC, Bankcard Group Furniture, LLC (collectively "BGI"). BGI, Williams and Nworgu were charged with violating Marylands securities laws by operating a fraudulent investment scheme involving millions of dollars.
The order, issued by Prince Georges County Circuit Court Judge Ronald D. Schiff, also maintains a freeze of the defendants assets and continues the work of the receiver in gathering and accounting for investor funds. BGI, Williams and Nworgu consented to the order, without admitting or denying violation of the Securities Act. The permanent injunction resolves the action filed by Curran on January 31, 2001 against BGI, Williams and Nworgu. "This relief by the Court will permanently halt the unlawful solicitation of investors and the loss of their money," Curran stated, "It also may lead to the return of some funds to investors."
The Securities Divisions investigation revealed that 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. BGI raised as much as $3 million from at least 200 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. Neither the company, its investments, or its promoters were registered with the Securities Division as required by Maryland law.
Curran says the Securities Division brought the action not only to halt the registration violations, but also because the BGI investment program had the indications of a "ponzi scheme;" there was no business or investment to generate the profits promised to investors, but rather the money invested was used to repay previous investors, and so on. "The receiver will continue to look for assets, as well as other investors, in an attempt to return as much of investors money as possible," Curran explained. "Money was not used to generate income with which to repay them. This case emphasizes the need to verify with the Securities Division before you invest that any investment opportunity is registered and has no complaints against it."
Curran reminded investors that they can contact the Securities Division at 410-576-6494 if they have questions concerning the status of investment promoters or the securities in which they plan to invest.