FORMER HOWARD COUNTY STOCKBROKER ORDERED TO JAIL FOR CONTEMPT
Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today that Howard County Circuit Court Judge Lenore R. Gelfman ordered Michael P. Keating, Sr., a former Howard County stock broker and investment adviser, to report to jail for 89 days on October 12, 2001 for contempt of a 1999 order that enjoined Keating from selling securities or offering investment advice. The judge gave Keating until October 12 to attempt to purge himself of contempt by presenting the court with an acceptable plan to pay the $538,000 owed to investors.
"Our Securities Division uncovered evidence that Keating, even after he was enjoined, sold more than $1 million worth of fraudulent, unregistered securities," Attorney General Curran said. "We asked the Court to find Keating in contempt of the earlier order."
Keating sold promissory notes for a Texas-based company named Support Enforcement Capital Corporation and other securities in alleged trading programs in historical and memorabilia bonds.
Curran’s Securities Division first filed a case against Keating in November 1997, after it uncovered an unregistered investment program during a surprise examination of Keating’s Ellicott City office. At the time of the examination, Keating worked with Andrew P. Bodnar of Akron, Ohio, selling investments in an offshore investment scheme orchestrated by Bodnar and others. In December 1998, to resolve the case, Keating consented to a permanent injunction that permanently barred him from conducting any securities or investment advisory business in Maryland. Bodnar has also been barred by the Securities Commissioner from selling investments. This August, Bodnar was sentenced to 11 years and three months in federal prison.
Curran explained that Keating was able to exploit his clients because they did not inquire about him with his office’s Securities Division before they invested. Keating’s clients trusted him and relied on his apparent expertise. Curran reminded investors that they should take a few minutes to verify the status of the promoters and brokers even when the broker comes recommended by friends and co-workers. Investors may call the Securities Division at 410-576-6360 to find out whether their investment adviser or broker is registered and whether they have any disciplinary history.