The SEC has alleged that that not all is well in that most pleasant of small towns, Sarasota, FL. As reported by the Business Observer, the Securities and Exchange Commission has alleged that a Sarasota company engaged in securities fraud and and its CEO used more than $1.8 million for his personal benefit.
Between 2009 and 2014 the SEC alleges that EnviraTrends, Inc.’s CEO, Russell Haraburda, convinced 100 investors in 13 states to part with $2.3 million to develop and build a business that sold pet memorials, personal scooters, and send exports to China. However, the SEC claims that Haraburda used most of that money to send his daughter to college, to pay his ex-wife alimony, take vacations and go on shopping sprees. Haraburda was apparently busy because EnviraTrends, Inc. apparently never got around to develop, produce, or sell anything. Rather, Harburda assured investors that he was preparing for an initial public offering.
So, scams come in all sizes and shapes and it can be hard to protect you and your loved ones. But you can do three simple things you can do to try to avoid being a victim. First, remind yourself that you should ‘trust but verify’ with your own due diligence when it comes to investing, particularly in an unknown company or investment. Second, be aware that many scams are perpetrated (or abetted) by someone you already know and trust. Third, make sure you do not invest too much of your net worth into one opportunity.
It seems that Florida is vying to remain toward the top of the heap in centers for financial frauds and scams. Take these three tips to heart and save yourself some heartache.