Former Pastor Arrested in Investment Fraud Scheme
Tallahassee, Fla. – The Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) announces the arrest of Wesley Alan Brown by the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office in Calabash, North Carolina. On July 14, Brown was apprehended for his alleged role in a fraudulent securities scheme, which took place in Flagler County, Florida from December 2010 through June 2012.
“The Florida Office of Financial Regulation works diligently to protect consumers from financial predators who target members of their community, and we are committed to thoroughly investigating cases, such as this, and seeking justice for victims,” said OFR Commissioner Drew J. Breakspear. “Consumer awareness and education are essential to preventing financial fraud. We will continue to work with our partners in law enforcement to reach positive outcomes for the citizens of Florida.”
At the time of the scheme, Brown was an assistant pastor at a local church. He is charged with seven counts of the sale of unregistered securities, five counts of securities fraud, four counts of grand theft and one count of the sale of securities by an unregistered dealer. Brown purportedly offered and sold unregistered, non-exempt securities to at least six residents of Flagler County in an amount exceeding $395,000. He allegedly solicited church members to invest in Maverick International, Inc., a company that Brown claimed was located in Delaware and invested in precious metals and commodities.
The investigation revealed that Brown deposited a portion of the investors’ money directly into his personal bank account and used the funds for his own benefit.
The case is being prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office, 7th Judicial Circuit, Flagler County.
If you are considering investing, please be aware of the following red flags:
- High pressure sales tactics, such as “invest now” or “this offer won’t last long.”
- The individual offering the investment insists they are “one of you,” meaning they are a member of the affinity group, therefore they can be trusted.
- Absence of written disclosure material on the investment product.
- The investment “sounds too good to be true.”
- Historically reported returns are constantly positive and unnaturally consistent.
If you feel that you may be a victim of fraud or to report suspicious activity, please file a complaint with the OFR online, www.flofr.com, or call (850) 487-9687.
Contact: Jamie Mongiovi,(850) 410-9709
The Florida Office of Financial Regulation provides regulatory oversight for Florida’s financial services providers. Our mission is to protect Floridians, promote a safe and sound financial marketplace, and contribute to the growth of Florida’s economy with smart, efficient and effective regulation of the financial services industry.