The Securities and Exchange Commission accused an unregistered broker/dealer in Staten Island, N.Y. of running a fraudulent boiler room scheme that targeted seniors.
According to an SEC statement, Premier Links Inc. would cold-call names from a list and use high-pressure sales tactics to convince seniors to invest in tech companies on the brink of making an initial public offering. The firm—consisting of President Dwayne Mallow and two salesmen, Chris Damon and Theirry Ruffin—would transmit a small fraction of the funds to the promoted companies and provide misleading statements to the investors showing their purchase.
Instead, Premier Links either siphoned the money to entities they controlled or withdrew it as cash. In less than seven years, they obtained $9 million from 300 investors around the country.
“In simple terms, [Premier Links] treated dozens of elderly investors as their personal ATM machines,” the SEC said in the complaint.
In one case, Damon and Mallow spent months earning the trust of a 76-year-old Air Force veteran to convince him to invest $300,000.
Premier Links did not have the proper SEC registration to sell securities or act as brokers. The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York also filed criminal charges.