Federal agents have accused a Spokane Valley man of running an investment scam that preyed on the patriotic spirit of investors while offering promises of a financial windfall.
Daniel F. Peterson’s company was little more than an elaborate ruse that hooked at least 21 investors for more than $400,000 – money he spent on vacations, a Mercedes SUV, gifts for his wife and gambling jaunts to Las Vegas, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission complaint filed in U.S. District Court on Thursday.
Attempts to reach Peterson and another agent of his USA Real Estate Fund 1 Inc. business were unsuccessful this afternoon.
Peterson is accused of soliciting investors by telling them that his investment products were backed by Wall Street firms and made possible by the 2012 JOBS Act, federal legislation designed to help American companies.
“The JOBS Act is intended to help small businesses raise capital, not to legalize fraud or give unscrupulous entrepreneurs a right to make false claims to fleece investors,” the SEC said in announcing its move to freeze Peterson’s business activities.
Peterson sold common stock in his fund for about 18 months. He told buyers it was an opportunity to collect returns of up to 1,300 percent.
The claims were false, the SEC alleges.
Peterson had no guaranteed investment products to offer and had no ties to large financial firms.
The SEC wants Peterson to return the investors’ money and pay legal fines.