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AG AND SECURITIES ADMINISTRATOR FILE SUIT OVER REAL ESTATE PONZI SCHEME
February 24, 2004
FEBRUARY 24, 2004
MICHAEL COLLERAN, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, 207-626-8834
CHRISTINE BRUENN, SECURITIES ADMINISTRATOR, 207-624-8551
Attorney General Steven Rowe announced today that his office has filed a civil suit in Penobscot County Superior Court against a Dexter couple and their real estate development company. The Attorney General’s complaint, filed on behalf of the State and Securities Administrator Christine Bruenn, alleges that William and Barbara Gourley and Bill & Barb Gourley, Inc., violated state securities laws in selling more than $4.5 million dollars worth of promissory notes to investors over an eleven-year period. Specifically, the complaint alleges that the Gourleys failed to register the notes as securities, made misrepresentations to potential investors regarding the profitability of the enterprise and the risk involved in the investments, and failed to disclose that the notes all were secured by property worth less than $200,000. Among other relief, the suit seeks restitution for investors, civil penalties, and an injunction against further sales of securities by the Gourleys.
The Attorney General’s complaint states that the Gourleys promised rates of return on the notes of between 12 percent and 20 percent and that the only way the Gourleys could meet that promise was to use money invested by new investors to pay interest to previous investors – a classic Ponzi scheme, according to the Attorney General.
Attorney General Rowe and Securities Administrator Bruenn warned Mainers to be wary of investments promising high rates of return with low risk.
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