Thursday, October 7, 2010
The SEC issued an Investor Alert: Investor Warning Regarding Web-Based Scheme Defrauding Deaf Investors. The agency charged an Internet-based investment company, Imperia Invest IBC (“Imperia”), with securities fraud for soliciting several million dollars from U.S. investors and promising guaranteed annual returns in excess of 1.2% per day while in reality siphoning the funds into foreign bank accounts and not paying any money back to investors. The SEC has obtained an emergency court order freezing the assets of Imperia which allegedly raised more than $7 million from approximately 14,000 investors worldwide. More than half of the funds were collected from U.S. investors who are Deaf. Imperia purported to invest in Traded Endowment Policies, the British term for viatical settlements, and claimed to pay returns of 1.2% per day.
Imperia is not registered with the SEC. Imperia is not registered as an investment advisor or broker-dealer in any state. The staff of the SEC has also received credible information suggesting that Imperia, which has made claims to be licensed and located in both the Bahamas and Vanuatu, is not licensed to do business or located at either of those locations.