Three Men Who Targeted Wyckoff Church Members
Reach Settlements with the N.J. Bureau of Securities
NEWARK--Three men who solicited members of a Wyckoff church and others to invest
funds, but in reality used investor's monies for personal expenses and purchases,
have settled lawsuits filed by New Jersey Bureau of Securities (NJBOS).
David A. Talbot of Florida, Robert Schroy of Illinois and Kenneth Simmons of
California are permanently restrained and enjoined from working in the securities
industry in New Jersey. The Office of the Attorney General through the NJBOS
filed suit against the three men and the companies they controlled in August,
“These men promised investors that the profits from their investments would fund the purchase of a new church building and other charitable undertakings. They defrauded investors who wanted to use their monies for altruistic purposes by instead diverting the monies for their own personal gain,” Attorney General Anne Milgram said.
Neither Talbot, Schroy or Simmons, nor the securities offered to investors, were registered with the NJBOS as legally required.
Under terms of his settlement, Talbot and the companies he controlled -- His Glory Worldwide, L.L.C and Prima Art International, Inc., are required to repay $133,500 to investors. Talbot also is required to pay a civil penalty of $80,000.
His Glory Worldwide, L.L.C. is a Nevada corporation that listed Talbot's former Hackensack apartment as its business address. Prima Art International, Inc. is a West Trenton-based L.L.C. where Talbot was believed to a manager.
Under terms of his settlement, Schroy and the companies he controlled are required to pay $434,000 in restitution. Schroy also is required to pay an $80,000 civil penalty.
Schroy's companies are Worldwide Marketing Network, Inc., a Nevada corporation where Schroy was believed to be President and Jesus Rallies in Chicagoland, Inc., which listed Schroy and Simmons as two of its three board members.
Neither Talbot nor Schroy are believed to have assets for paying restitution or the civil penalties.
Simmons and International Business Consulting Inc., of Nevada, where Simmons was believed to be its Chief Executive Officer, are required to repay $70,500 to investors. Simmons also is required to pay a $25,000 civil penalty. He has begun to make payments to satisfy the terms of the settlement.
“Investor fraud is on the rise as consumers seek alternatives to stocks and bonds in these difficult financial times,” said David Szuchman, Consumer Affairs Director. “Investor complaints to the Bureau of Securities are up 25% in the first quarter of 2009 and we remain committed to reviewing each complaint and taking action, where appropriate, against those who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of investors.”
The NJBOS can be contacted toll-free within New Jersey at 1-877-I-INVEST (1-877-446-8378) or from outside New Jersey at 973-504-3600. The Bureau's web site is located at www.njsecurities.gov . Investors contacting the Bureau can verify if the person offering an investment is registered to do business in New Jersey. The investment offered also must be registered with the NJBOS.
“Investors must be vigilant, even when the opportunity comes from someone they know,” said Marc B. Minor, NJBOS Chief. “It's natural to want to trust members of your organization. Unfortunately, scammers prey upon that trust, betting that their victims are less likely to vet the investment or its salesperson as thoroughly as they otherwise would. I encourage investors to use the Bureau to do their due diligence first.”
The NJBOS, in its lawsuit, alleged that Talbot, Schroy and Simmons operated a fraud from March to October 2007. Talbot, a former member of the Wyckoff Assembly of God Church, later became affiliated with the New Horizons Fellowship. The fellowship rented a church in Wyckoff and its members were interested in purchasing a church building.
Talbot and Schroy used prayer conference calls to solicit fellowship members and others with an investment that they promised would generate 12% to 35% weekly returns. They allegedly stated that the returns would fund the church purchase as well as other charitable undertakings.
Simmons sent e-mails to the investors to periodically update them on the performance of their investment vehicle. Investors never received a prospectus.
Rather than investing the monies, Talbot, Schroy and Simmons transferred the funds between bank accounts that they controlled and ultimately spent the money on personal items including furniture, electronic appliances, hotel stays, restaurant meals and auto leases, among others.
Acting Chief of Investigations Rudolph G. Bassman and Investigator Thomas Dellatorre conducted the investigation of this case. Deputy Attorneys General Victoria A. Manning and Toral M. Joshi represented the Bureau of Securities in this matter.