SEC Charges Florida Executive With Defrauding Senior Citizen Investors
On September 29th, 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced securities fraud charges against Stephone N. Patton. A convicted felon, Mr. Patton stands accused of using three investment entities that he owned and controlled to defraud senior citizen investors. Here, our Miami elder financial fraud attorney highlights the key factors to know about the allegations.
SEC Complaint: Stephone N. Patton Misrepresented the Value of Companies
The SEC filed a complaint against Stephone N. Patton in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. In the complaint, the federal agency also named three companies that Mr. Patton owned and controlled:
- Star Oil and Gas Company, Inc. (a Mississippi corporation);
- North Gulf Energy Corporation, Inc. (a Mississippi corporation); and
- Patton Farms, Inc. (a Florida corporation).
The SEC collectively refers to these three companies as the ‘Patton Entities.” According to regulators, Mr. Patton dramatically misrepresented the value of these companies to actual and prospective investors. In reality, these three companies had no legitimate business operations.
Investors Were Told the Patton Entities has Billions of Dollars in Annual Revenue
Investors were informed that the Patton Entities had billions of dollars worth of collective annual revenue. For example, the website for Star Oil and Gas Company, Inc. stated that the company generated $16 billion in annual revenue and had tens of thousands of employees. However, in its civil complaint, the SEC alleges that the company has no legitimate business—meaning no actual revenue and no actual employees. Notably, the SEC believes that the scheme was targeted largely at senior citizen investors.
Senior Citizens are Frequent Targets of Investment Fraud
Unfortunately, senior citizens often face a higher risk of investment fraud, becoming attractive targets for fraudsters. The reasons are numerous: accumulated savings, a desire to boost income in retirement, and sometimes, a lack of financial savvy. Fraudulent investment opportunities may appear legitimate—making it crucial for seniors to be cautious. Elder investors who have been defrauded have a right to seek compensation to hold the responsible parties accountable.
SEC Seeking All Available Remedies (Injunctive, Disgorgement, etc)
As part of its civil complaint against Stephone N. Patton and his corporations, the SEC is seeking all appropriate remedies. Beyond findings of violations of federal securities law, the SEC also seeks:
- Injunctive Relief: The SEC wants the court to order these investment entities be shut down entirely , including the full deactivation of the misleading Star Oil and Gas Company website.
- Financial Penalties: The SEC is looking to impose financial sanctions, including the payment of restitution, the disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, and civil financial penalties.
Contact Our Miami, FL Elder Financial Fraud Lawyers Today
At Carlson & Associates, P.A., our Miami securities fraud attorneys have the skills and experience to protect the rights of elder investors. If you or your loved one was the victim of an investment fraud scheme targeted at senior citizens, we are here to help. Contact our Miami office today for a confidential case evaluation. We represent investors in Florida and beyond.