The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has filed charges this week alleging a former Charlotte man and his company defrauded clients out of $6.5 million.
The agency charged Gordon Grigg and his firm, ProTrust Management of Nashville, Tenn., with securities fraud, alleging they defrauded at least 27 clients by claiming to have invested their money in securities that do not exist. The SEC also obtained an emergency court order freezing their assets.
Grigg, 46, could not be reached for comment. He lived in Mecklenburg County from at least 1984-2000, records show.
The SEC complaint alleges that Grigg and ProTrust:
Falsely claimed to have invested client money in fictitious securities known as “private placements.” Private placements are legitimate forms of investment for securities that don't have to be registered with the SEC.
Created false and fraudulent account statements reflecting client ownership of the non-existent securities.
Claimed that clients could invest in government-guaranteed debt as part of the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program, and that they had invested client funds in TARP. But there is no program that allows people to buy debt guaranteed by TARP.
Falsely claimed to have partnerships and other business relationships with several of the nation's top investment firms, including
The alleged fraud started in 2003.
Grigg holds himself to be a financial planner, but is not licensed or registered with any state or federal agency to offer or sell securities, to be registered with any broker-dealer or to be associated with any investment adviser.
Research Maria David contributed.