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For Immediate Release
May 15, 2002
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357

CHURCH-BASED INVESTMENT PROGRAM AND ITS PROMOTERS PERMANENTLY ENJOINED FROM SECURITIES AND INVESTMENT ADVISOR ACTIVITIES

Attorney General J Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that the Circuit Court for Baltimore City permanently enjoined Financial Warfare, Inc., Teresa Y. Hodge and Marcus D. Dukes from soliciting investments or providing investment advice in Maryland. Curran's Securities Division charged the defendants with soliciting investments through African-American churches and the Internet in violation of the Maryland Securities Act.

According to the order, entered with the consent of the defendants, Financial Warfare, Dukes and Hodge made presentations through a network of African-American churches located in at least 10 states and the District of Columbia. The defendants, who operated from Prince George's County, raised $800,000 for the Financial Warfare program from about 800 church members. The defendants promised seminars in financial literacy and shares in affiliated companies that were to go public by the end of 2001. In fact, Financial Warfare has not held any financial literacy seminars and did not grant shares in the affiliated companies, which have no prospect for going public.

Financial Warfare promoted its program by describing Dukes as having "senior experience as a stockbroker" when, in fact, Dukes had been barred from serving as a broker after being registered for about one year. Financial Warfare also promised that it would "capture five percent of the minority population market value in the next five years" when, in fact, its affiliated companies have never had any employees, contracts or revenues. The defendants continued to raise money from investors and to operate out of both Prince George's County and Washington D.C. after they were ordered in March 2001 by the Securities Commissioner to stop.

Curran's Securities Commissioner concluded that Financial Warfare, Dukes and Hodge violated Maryland's securities laws by offering and selling unregistered investments, by acting as an unregistered securities broker and investment adviser, and by failing to disclose material information. The Circuit Court permanently enjoined the defendants from engaging in the securities or investment advisory business in Maryland. The court agreed to reserve ruling on the terms of any fines, disgorgement or restitution to be paid by the defendants, until the conclusion of proceedings that other securities agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, may bring against the defendants.

Curran urges anyone who invested funds with Financial Warfare, Dukes, Hodge and the related companies, or who has information concerning that investment program, to call the Securities Division of his office at 410-576-6360.

Curran also reminded investors to call the Securities Division before they invest to find out whether their investment adviser, broker and securities are 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 promoters.

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