MISLEADING INVESTMENT AD HALTED BY SECURITIES INVESTOR PROTECTION CORPORATION (SIPC) AND IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 20, 2006 – The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) and the Idaho Department of Finance announced today that they have worked together to halt an advertising campaign that could have misled unwary investors into believing that an investment was "insured through SIPC." SIPC was created by Congress to maintain a special reserve fund to help investors at bankrupt brokerage firms.
The case was triggered when an investor contacted the SIPC office in Washington, D.C. after reading a newspaper ad in the Idaho Statesman that was placed by "Network Investments," of Boise, Idaho. The ad and a related Web site urged investors to purchase Real Estate Construction Investments that supposedly were "insured through SIPC."
SIPC President Stephen Harbeck said: "The ads were misleading for three reasons. First, the investments were unregistered investment contracts, which are not protected under the Securities Investor Protection Act. Second, there was no indication that the investments were to be held in custody for the investors by a SIPC member brokerage firm. Third, SIPC's statutory role is to return securities to investors when their brokerage firm fails. SIPC does not 'insure' the underlying value of any security. The risk of market loss remains with the investor, just as the potential for market reward always remains with the investor."
Idaho Department of Finance Director Gavin Gee said: "Even one red flag, such as this phony SIPC insurance claim, is a sure sign that investors need to beware. This case is one more example of the adage 'if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't true.'"
SIPC notified the Idaho Department of Finance about the advertisements. On the next business day, the Idaho state agency issued a cease and desist (C&D) order against Network Financial Services, LLC, operating as Network Investments, and Shane Michael Turner, the individual controlling Network Financial.
"I was extremely impressed with the speed of the Idaho Department of Finance response," Harbeck said. "State securities regulators refer to themselves as the local 'cop on the beat' for small investors. This was a perfect example of a nimble, immediate response to what could have become a serious problem."
From the time Congress created it in 1970 through December 2005, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (http://www.sipc.org) advanced $585 million in order to make possible the recovery of $14.2 billion in assets for an estimated 624,000 investors. Although not every investor is protected by SIPC, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation estimates that no fewer than 99 percent of persons who are eligible have been made whole in the failed brokerage firm cases that it has handled to date.
SIPC either acts as trustee or works with an independent court-appointed trustee in a brokerage insolvency case to recover funds. The statute that created SIPC rules provides that customers of a failed brokerage firm receive all non-negotiable securities that are already registered in their names or in the process of being registered. At the same time, funds from the SIPC reserve are available to satisfy the remaining claims of each customer up to a maximum of $500,000. This figure includes a maximum of $100,000 on claims for cash.
ABOUT THE IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE SECURITIES BUREAU
The Securities Bureau of the Idaho Department of Finance administers and enforces several consumer and business protection statutes. In connection with the State of Idaho’s Uniform Securities Act (2004) and the Idaho Commodity Code, the Bureau regulates the sale of investment securities (e.g. stocks and bonds) and those individuals and entities (e.g. stockbrokers, investment advisers, small businesses) that offer investment opportunities to the public. The Bureau’s objectives in administering and enforcing these statutes include promoting the integrity and vitality of state and federal financial markets, protecting the investing public from fraudulent investment schemes, and assisting legitimate businesses in their efforts to raise capital in Idaho.
CONTACT: Ailis Aaron Wolf, The Hastings Group, (703) 276-3265 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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