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For Immediate Release
September 3, 2003
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
scaine@oag.state.md.us

CURRAN'S SECURITIES DIVISION SHUTS DOWN FRAUDULENT INVESTMENT FUND AND PROMOTER

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his office's Securities Division issued a Summary Order to Cease and Desist against Phydea Equity Fund, LLC and its president, Mark E. Phillips, aka Mark Le Roy Aaron, of Elkton, Maryland. The order charges them with violating the Maryland securities laws by selling hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of fraudulent securities from January 2000 to the present. According to the order, Phydea Equity Fund, LLC and Phillips must immediately cease and desist selling unregistered securities, employing unregistered securities brokers or investment advisers, and continuing the fraudulent investment scheme.

The order alleges that Phydea Equity Fund, LLC and Phillips raised more than $600,000 from 89 investors in Maryland and throughout the country. Phillips used his website, www.phydea.com, and advertisements in business periodicals to solicit investors in the Phydea Equity Fund, LLC. Phillips promoted the fund by claiming that he was a "stock picker" who had great returns in a down market. He sent investors regular statements showing a profit on their investment and a 32.3% average rate of return since 1999. In reality, according to the order, Phillips lost most of the money through unsuccessful trading or used the funds to pay personal expenses, including the purchase of diamond wedding rings and trips to Atlantic City casinos. Neither Phillips nor Phydea Equity Fund, LLC were registered with the Maryland Securities Division, as required by Maryland law.

"Phydea Equity Fund, LLC and Mr. Phillips have defrauded investors," Attorney General Curran said. "We want to ensure that they do not harm any more unsuspecting victims. By issuing a summary order, we can put an immediate stop to these violations."

Curran emphasized that the Securities Division's investigation of this matter is continuing and urges anyone who invested funds with Mark Phillips or Phydea Equity Fund, LLC or who has information concerning their investment programs, to call the Securities Division of his office at 410-576-7059.

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 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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