. . . . . . NEWS
Maine Office of Securities
35 State House Station - Augusta, Maine 04333-0035
||Michael J. Colleran
Monday - May 22, 2006
State Securities Regulator Warns Citizens to Watch Out for Oil and Gas Scams
Augusta, Maine: Maine Securities Administrator Michael J. Colleran today issued a warning to citizens to beware of oil and gas investment scams being touted in Maine.
The Office of Securities recently took enforcement actions against two out-of-state oil and gas companies, Matrix Petroleum, Inc. and Woso Energy Corporation, and related individuals for using fraudulent and high-pressure sales tactics to sell investments in their purported oil and gas projects. The companies also violated Maine law by failing to register the investments for sale in Maine or license their sales representatives. One Maine resident invested a total of $88,000 with the two companies and has not seen a penny of it back. The sales to this resident resulted from "cold calling" -- unsolicited telephone calls from strangers. Copies of the enforcement orders are available on the Office of Securities website at www.MaineSecuritiesReg.org.
"The sale of fraudulent oil and gas investments is a recurring problem that seems to get worse when energy prices are high," said Colleran, who previously urged Maine citizens to watch out for oil and gas scams related to oil industry damage in the Gulf states. Colleran cautioned that legitimate investments are rarely sold through cold calling and advised Maine citizens to:
* Hang up on cold-callers and ignore unsolicited e-mail messages and faxes promoting any kind of investment.
* Use common sense. Anything that sounds too good to be true, or too strange to be real, probably is false.
* Never provide money or financial information to a stranger in response to an unsolicited sales pitch.
* Make sure to fully check out any investment before investing. Maine consumers can call the Office of Securities toll-free at 1-877-624-8551 to get information about an investment, including whether the seller and the investment are properly licensed and whether the investment can be sold lawfully in Maine.
Colleran also urged Maine investors to call 1-877-624-8551 if they have received any unwanted solicitation to purchase an oil and gas investment.
The Maine Office of Securities is part of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, which encourages sound ethical business practices through high quality, impartial and efficient regulation of insurers, financial institutions, creditors, investment providers, and numerous professions and occupations for the purpose of protecting the citizens of Maine. Consumers can reach the Office of Securities through its Web site at www.MaineSecuritiesReg.org, by calling 1-877-624-8551, or by writing to the Maine Office of Securities, 121 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333-0121.