A Colorado registered investment advisor has agreed to pay nearly $1.2 million in penalties to settle SEC fraud charges that she fraudulently raised millions of dollars from nearly two dozen investors, the agency announced today.

Billing herself as a “consistently successful options trader,” Ann M. Vick, 59, of Mead, Colo., used promissory notes to raise about $3.2 million from unwitting investors from August 2018 through January 2021, promising them “exorbitant investment returns,” according to the SEC's complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. The fraud was conducted though AMV Investments LLC, a pooled investment fund she ran as the sole owner, the SEC said.

Vick has waived her right to a trial and has instead agreed to settle the charges, the SEC said. Without admitting or denying the charges, Vick has consented to a permanent SEC bar from the securities industry and has agreed to pay disgorgement and a civil penalty of $1,168,229. Vick also agreed to be prohibited from acting as an officer or director of any public company. The settlement is subject to court approval, the SEC said.

Vick promised she would safely use investor funds to generate promised monthly interest payments ranging from 60% to 120% annually, the SEC alleged.

“In truth, Vick’s options trading results were a volatile mix of gains and losses and she had never generated the consistent profits necessary to pay investors the returns she promised,” the SEC alleged.

In fact, Vice suffered significant trading losses in early 2020. To cover them up, she began making Ponzi-like payments to older investors using other investors’ money, and misappropriated about $570,150 of investor funds, according to the SEC complaint.

Even after suffering massive trading losses, Vick managed to raise about $1.3 million “in new investor funds from May 2020 to January 2021 by falsely claiming that her stock options trading was wildly profitable and safe, misrepresenting how she would use investor money, and failing to disclose that AMV was effectively insolvent as a result of her trading losses and misappropriation,” the SEC said.

In December 2019 alone, Vick’s trading resulted in a loss of about $1.4 million, or 57% of the funds under her control, the SEC said. In March 2020, she lost $1.18 million, or 78% of the funds under her control, the SEC said. In total, from December 2019 to March 2020 Vick’s trading resulted in losses totaling about $2,666,000. For the full year of 2020, Vick suffered aggregate trading losses of about $432,000, the SEC alleged.

Vick also misappropriated investor money by either never depositing it into AMV accounts or by diverting it from AMV’s account to her personal accounts, the SEC said. “From at least August 2018 through the present, Vick has pooled and commingled investor money with her personal funds in various bank and brokerage accounts in her control. Investor money was deposited in accounts in Vick’s name, in the name of AMV, and in the name of other entities operated and controlled by Vick,” the agency said.

Vick also used an unnamed female investor to solicit client funds, the SEC said.

First « 1 2 » Next