Larry J. Dearman Sr., an Oklahoma wedding singer and investment advisor who has been involved in civil and criminal cases revolving around the fraudulent sale of penny stocks, has been barred by the Securities and Exchange Commission from the financial industry, the SEC announced Thursday.
Dearman, of Bartlesville and Tulsa, Okla., worked for a number of firms between 2002 and 2013, including The Focus Group, an SEC-registered investment advisory firm, where he was a partial owner and held several other positions. The Focus Group ended its association with Dearman, the SEC says.
Dearman and a friend, Marya Gray, enticed investors to put $4.7 million in companies that Gray controlled. The SEC says the two “squandered the vast majority of those funds in gambling, personal expenses and Ponzi payments.” He was able to lure investors into the scheme in part because he was well known in the community as a wedding singer.
For his involvement, Dearman was sentenced to 10 years in prison. A federal court judge in Oklahoma also ordered one of Gray’s companies to pay $3.6 million.