SEC Charges Illinois-Based Adviser in Social Media Scam

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged an investment adviser for offering fictitious securities through social media websites.

The SEC’s Division of Enforcement alleges Anthony Fields of Lyons, Illinois offered more than $500 billion in fictitious securities through various social media websites. For example, he used LinkedIn discussions to promote fictitious “bank guarantees” and “medium-term notes.” The postings resulted in interest from multiple purported potential buyers.

“Fraudsters are quick to adapt to new technologies to exploit them for unlawful purposes,” said Robert B. Kaplan, co-chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Asset Management Unit. “Social media is no exception, and today’s enforcement action reflects our determination to pursue fraudulent activity on new and evolving platforms.”

According to the SEC’s order instituting administrative proceedings against Fields, he made multiple fraudulent offers through his two sole proprietorships—Anthony Fields & Associates (AFA) and Platinum Securities Brokers. Fields provided false and misleading information concerning AFA’s assets under management, clients and operational history to the public through its website and in SEC filings. Fields also failed to maintain required books and records, did not implement adequate compliance policies and procedures, and held himself out to be a broker-dealer while he was not registered with the SEC.