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Secretary of State Agents Make Securities Fraud Arrest; Seniors Again Targeted In Securities Scam
Posted Date: 2/20/2008

Secretary of State Ross Miller says Arrest Should Serve as Warning to Unlicensed Brokers and to Potential Victims

Las Vegas , NV –Investigators for the office of Secretary of State Ross Miller today arrested a Southern Nevada man on multiple felony charges related to securities fraud. Miller says the arrest represents his office’s commitment to stopping securities fraud in Nevada. Thomas Vail was arrested Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at his office at 2850 West Horizon Ridge Parkway in Henderson, and booked in the Clark County Detention Center. He is charged with eight felony counts related to his activities as the owner of the Anthem Financial Group.

The charges are the result of Vail’s transactions with four Southern Nevada victims. According to investigators, Vail lured potential customers with advertising for certificates of deposit which were described in the advertising as “FDIC insured bank CD’s.” The victims were then presented with a “bait and switch” in which Vail offered them higher paying “certificate agreements.” The “certificate agreements” being offered and sold by Vail were unregistered and unsecured, and therefore could not be guaranteed as represented by Vail.

Investigators say the agreements Vail sold were issued by Federal Savings, LLC, however Federal Savings is not a banking institution and therefore its investments cannot be insured by the FDIC. Vail also failed to disclose to his victims that he was not a licensed investment advisor, and therefore had no authority to collect fees for the transactions.

Jeremy Stamper, a principal of Federal Savings, LLC has been the subject of investigations in Nevada and the State of Washington, and has been ordered to pay approximately $4.7 million in restitution to more than 200 investors in 37 states. In October, 2007 the Nevada Secretary of State’s office announced an agreement with Stamper to provide more than $200,000 in restitution to Nevada victims, and further adjudication of the Stamper/Federal Savings case is pending.

“I want this case to be a message to unlicensed investment advisors and broker-dealers, and a warning to investors,” said Secretary of State Ross Miller. “The dollar amounts in this case are certainly large to the victims, but relative to some of the other cases we’ve seen, these are small amounts. Nonetheless, we’re going to investigate and prosecute every case we can regardless of the dollar figures. Unlicensed investment advisors and brokers are a potential danger to anyone looking to make investments. At a time when some investors, especially seniors, are trying to make up for recent losses in the financial markets, these lucrative promises of high, guaranteed returns are particularly attractive. For unlicensed investment advisors and brokers, this arrest should serve as a warning that we’re going to continue to search for and prosecute those who break the law. For unwary consumers this is also a warning that they should do extensive research before they invest.”

Vail faces three counts of transacting business as an unlicensed investment advisor with a person over 60 years of age; three counts of fraudulent offer or sale of securities to a person over 60 years of age; one count of transacting business as an unlicensed investment advisor; and one count of offer or sale of securities. The eight charges are all Class “B” felonies. As in all criminal matters, the office maintains that the allegations are merely accusations and individuals are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

For more information on how to choose an investment professional, go directly to http://www.nvsos.gov/securities/investors/publications/knowyourbroker.asp , or follow the Securities Center “investor education” links at www.nvsos.gov . Nevadans who believe they have been the victim of investment fraud can contact the Secretary of State’s office at (702) 486-2440, or (775) 688-1855.

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