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For Immediate Release
May 12, 2005
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

CURRAN’S SECURITIES DIVISION ORDERS HALT TO FLORIDA-BASED PROMISSORY NOTE SCHEME


Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today that the Securities Division of his office has issued a Summary Order To Cease And Desist against The Just Foundation, Inc., Abacus Solutions, Inc., and their officers and directors Gary Steve Nelson and Judith E. Nelson, all operating out of Florida. They have been ordered to cease and desist violating Maryland’s securities laws by operating a fraudulent investment scheme involving supposed charitable donations converted into 15-month promissory notes. "This investigation by the Securities Division of my office has resulted in a refund of more than $650,000 to all known Maryland investors," Curran said. "This orders The Just Foundation and its agents and officers to cease any operations in Maryland until a hearing can be held in this matter, and will prevent the unlawful solicitation of additional investors and the risk of loss of their money," Curran explained.

The Securities Division’s investigation revealed that The Just Foundation operated an unregistered and fraudulent promissory note investment program under the guise of a profitable "donation." Using the Internet or personal sources to solicit inquiries to Abacus by potential investors, Abacus would direct the investors to The Just Foundation. Then, the agents offered a tenfold return for purportedly tax-deductible donations made to fund "humanitarian projects" for disabled children. Subsequently, the "donors"/investors were informed that the invested amount was not deductible, and they were given the choice of making an outright contribution with no return, or their money back, or a promissory note for the tenfold return. Some 40 Maryland residents placed more than $650,000 with The Just Foundation, electing to convert their "donations" into promissory notes. In the process of these investment sales, The Just Foundation and its officers and agents failed to disclose to investors what or where the humanitarian projects were, how their money would be used, or the source of the promised ten-fold returns. Neither the company, its notes, nor its promoters are registered with the Securities Division as required by Maryland law.

Curran says his Securities Division brought the action not only to halt the registration violations, but also because of the material misrepresentations and omissions made in connection with The Just Foundation investment program, which has no identified "humanitarian projects," no recognition of its claimed tax-exempt status, and no known source for a tenfold return of invested funds. "There is great risk of the loss of investors’ money where there is no identified source of income except other investors," Curran stressed. "In addition, a program like this can detract from contributions that could be made to charities with well defined and documented goals, causing a loss to them as well. 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 of his office at 410-576-7786 if they have questions concerning the status of investment promoters or the securities in which they plan to invest.

   

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