The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged a California man with running a fraudulent investment operation that raised $3 million from the public.
Richard H. Nickles, 53, of Santa Anna, Calif., was charged with fraud by the SEC for allegedly orchestrating the scam through three companies: Innovative Advisory Services Inc., Innovative Advisory Services LLC and Island Trader LLC, all of which operated out of Santa Anna.
The SEC says it obtained a U.S. District Court order to stop his operations on Thursday.
The agency said that Nickles has raised about $3 million since March 2009--primarily through advertisements in prominent newspapers--for investments he said were insured or federally guaranteed.
In reality, the SEC alleges, the funds were not invested as advertised. Instead, Nickles covered up the scheme by sending investors fake trade confirmations through Island Trader, a registered broker-dealer that has had no dealings with Nickles or his companies since March 2009, according to the SEC.
He allegedly used the name Island Trader LLC for his non-regulated company in order to give further credence to his misrepresentations, according to the SEC. The SEC also alleges that Nickles held himself out as a certified financial planner, when, in fact, he was not.