U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Litigation Release No. 23163 /
December 19, 2014
Securities and Exchange Commission
v. Premier Links, Inc., et al., Civil Action
SEC charges Staten Island-based firm with operating boiler room scheme targeting seniors
On December 18, 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged a Staten Island, N.Y.-based firm, its former president and two sales representatives involved in a fraudulent boiler room scheme targeting seniors to invest in speculative start-up companies.
The SEC alleges that Dwayne Malloy, Chris Damon and Theirry Ruffin treated vulnerable older investors as their personal ATM machines. They cold-called names from a list they maintained at Premier Links Inc. and used high-pressure sales tactics to convince seniors to invest in companies purportedly on the brink of conducting Initial Public Offerings (IPOs). They never disclosed to the investors that only a small fraction of the money would be transmitted to the promoted companies, and Premier Links diverted investor funds to other entities controlled by the sales representatives or other associates.
According to the SEC’s complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Premier Links has never been registered with the SEC as a broker-dealer as required under the federal securities laws to conduct this type of business with investors. Premier Links, Malloy, Damon, and Ruffin fraudulently obtained at least US $ 9 million from more than 300 investors across the country by building a relationship of purported trust and confidence with them. In one particularly egregious example, Damon and Malloy spent months earning the trust of an elderly veteran in order to defraud him of US $ 300,000. In many instances, investors were provided with misleading account statements showing the shares they purportedly purchased as being held for safekeeping in their Premier Links accounts while awaiting the promised IPOs. Yet, transfer agent records for the relevant companies indicate that shares were never purchased for these investors. Investor money was simply stolen instead.