Submitted by Missouri Secretary of State’s Office
Tuesday, March 6, 2018, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s Securities Division ordered Michael Peregrine and Owen K. Stephenson to cease and desist after Peregrine, aided by Stephenson, allegedly sold unregistered, non-exempt securities to a Rock Port, Missouri, investor.
The order also alleges that Peregrine, from Westboro, Missouri, made untrue statements, omitted material facts and engaged in fraud. Stephenson, from Rohnert Park, California, allegedly received funds in connection with the sale of the securities and materially aided Peregrine.
The division alleges that in 2014, Peregrine solicited the investor, a longtime friend, to buy $100,000 of common stock in a mining company with which Peregrine was associated. Peregrine told the investor she would “get rich” and would recoup the investment with substantial interest within six months. The investor moved $100,000 via wire transfer to a bank account she believed to be associated with the mining company.
Unbeknownst to the investor, Peregrine sold the investor stock from his own personal portfolio. Peregrine did not disclose that the money was wired to Stephenson’s bank account, and was used for personal expenses, among other things. The investor was also not made aware that the CEO of the mining company, who signed the stock certificate, was a convicted felon. The investor requested financial statements from Peregrine, but never received them. The investor never received any return on her $100,000 investment.
“Even if you think you know someone, you should still make sure to check them out,” Securities Commissioner David M. Minnick said. “They may not be giving you all the facts. If an investment sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Look into the person or company offering the investment, and be a cautious and well-informed investor.”
The division also ordered Peregrine and Stephenson to show cause why they should not be ordered to pay restitution plus interest, civil penalties and investigation costs totaling more than $120,000.
Ashcroft urges all investors to know the risks. If you have any questions about an investment opportunity or wish to check the background and registration status of a financial adviser, please call the toll-free investor protection hotline at 800-721-7996, or go online to www.missouriprotectsinvestors.com to file a complaint.