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NC SOS

Latest Enforcement News

  • (2020-08-03) Anthony Wayne March, 49, of Wake Forest, NC, pleaded guilty today to wire fraud for his role in an $8.1 million Ponzi scheme. For more details, please see this press release.
  • (2020-06-11) Joseph Maurice Deberry, a/k/a Joseph Maurice Dewberry, 56, of Charlotte, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge David S. Cayer yesterday and pleaded guilty to wire fraud, for orchestrating an investment scheme that defrauded victims of hundreds of thousands of dollars, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. For more information, see this press release.
  • (2020-03-31) NC Secretary of State Offers Tips to Avoid COVID-19 Related Investment Scams
  • (2019-11-21) *UPDATE: See the information at 2020-08-03 above.* United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that a federal grand jury had returned an Indictment charging ANTHONY WAYNE MARCH, 48, of Wake Forest, North Carolina, with one count of Securities Fraud; three counts of Wire Fraud; one count of Bankruptcy Fraud; one count of Obstruction of Bankruptcy Case; three counts of False Oaths; and four counts of Money Laundering. The indictment follows an investigation by the NC Secretary of State’s Securities Division and the IRS Criminal Investigation Division. For more information, click here.
  • (2019-10-30) NASAA 2020 Fee Announcement -- The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) today announced the continued waiver of Investment Adviser Registration Depository (IARD) system fees for state-registered investment adviser firms. NASAA also announced $5 increases in the IARD system fee for state-registered investment adviser representatives and the Electronic Filing Depository (EFD) system use fee for Form D, Rule 506 filings, effective January 1, 2020. Click the link for more details.
  • (2018-02-15) CFTC Issues First Pump-and-Dump Virtual Currency Customer Protection Advisory
  • (2018-01-11) FINRA Provides Guidance on Protecting Personal Information in Required Filings

Cease & Desist Orders

A summary cease & desist order is issued by the Securities Division when it appears that ongoing activity violates the North Carolina Securities Act or the North Carolina Investment Advisers Act and poses the threat of irreparable harm to the investing public. The cease & desist order commands those who receive it to stop any further violations and to comply with the requirements of the securities laws. At the time of issuance of a summary order, the persons named in the order have not had the opportunity to respond to its allegations. The order notifies those persons that they may request a hearing on whether the allegations are true. If no hearing is requested, the Division will issue a final order confirming the allegations as true. A final order terminates the controversy between the parties and concludes the issues in the proceeding, unless and until it is vacated or set aside.

Criminal Enforcement
& Administrative Actions


On August 3, 2020, Anthony Wayne March, of Wake Forest, NC, pleaded guilty to wire fraud for his role in an $8.1 million Ponzi scheme (see press release). According to court documents, March, 49 years old, operated the non-profit 501(c)(3) entity Asset Trader, located in Rolesville, NC, between 2012 to 2015. March represented that Asset Trader offered educational services to professionals and taxpayers in the area of exit planning. Asset Trader’s stated educational mission allowed it to obtain classification as a 28 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization. Asset Trader used its §501(c)(3) tax-exempt status to solicit tax-deductible donations in exchange for charitable gift annuities (“CGAs”) and to recruit referral sources to obtain assets from potential donors. Through Asset Trader, March and his co-conspirators engaged in and executed what is commonly known as a “Ponzi” scheme to defraud investors by inducing them to invest with Asset Trader. The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI), and the North Carolina Secretary of State, Securities Division conducted the investigation in this matter. The Office of the U.S. Bankruptcy Administrator for the Eastern District of North Carolina provided substantial assistance. Assistant United States Attorney Ethan Ontjes, Special Assistant United States Attorney Brian Behr, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Kevin Harrington represent the United States. For additional information, see the entry at November 21, 2019 below.

On June 11, 2020, Joseph Maurice Deberry, a/k/a Joseph Maurice Dewberry, 56, of Charlotte, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge David S. Cayer on June 11, 2020, and pleaded guilty to wire fraud, for orchestrating an investment scheme that defrauded victims of hundreds of thousands of dollars, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. According to admissions Deberry made in plea documents and the June 11th plea hearing, from 2016 through June 2019, Deberry fraudulently obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars from more than a dozen investors. As part of the scheme, Deberry induced victims to invest in entities with which he was affiliated, such as Pinnacle Investment Properties, LLC and Place Capital Group LLC, among others. Deberry typically represented to investors that their money would be used to further projects related to the construction of student housing at certain colleges in the Carolinas and other ventures. As Deberry admitted in court and in related filings, rather than use the victims’ money as he had represented, Deberry used a significant portion of their funds to pay for personal expenses like rent, entertainment and travel. Further, Deberry actively concealed from his victims the fact that he was under a Cease and Desist Order from the North Carolina Secretary of State's Securities Division prohibiting him from offering for sale, soliciting offers to purchase, or selling any securities in North Carolina (see entry at March 6, 2012 below). Deberry concealed this information from victims by, among other things, telling them that his name was Maurice Dewberry. Deberry pleaded guilty to wire fraud. The charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date for Deberry has not been set. For more information, see this press release.

On April 16, 2020, the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State, Securities Division entered into a Final Consent Order ("Order") with Ferry Capital Management, LLC ("FCM") and Paul Edward Ferry. The Order found that Respondents transacted business in North Carolina as an investment adviser and an investment adviser representative without being registered, in violation of the North Carolina Investment Advisers Act ("Act"). Pursuant to the Order, FCM and Ferry agreed to immediately cease and desist from violating any provisions of the Act and any related administrative rules; keep FCM's Form ADV updated; hire a third-party compliance auditor; attend the Securities Division's Investment Adviser Best Practices Workshop; and pay both a civil penalty and the cost of investigation. For more information, click here.

On February 26, 2020, Rozalia Ann Kramer, 51, was sentenced in US District Court in Winston-Salem, NC, to a total term of imprisonment of 24 months for wire fraud and money laundering. In addition to prison time, Kramer was ordered to serve three years of supervised release and to pay restitution in the amount of $90,000 and a special assessment of $100.00. A forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $102,000 was also imposed. Kramer pleaded guilty on October 8, 2019. Her case was jointly investigated by the US Postal Inspection Service’s White Collar Crimes Task Force and the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State Securities Division. According to documents filed with the Court, Kramer met elderly World War II veteran J.V.M. while in line at the K&W Cafeteria at Friendly Center shopping center in Greensboro. After speaking in line with J.V.M., Kramer dined with him. She then began to socialize with the elderly widower regularly eating with him and meeting him on social occasions, J.V.M. owned a residence on Forest Hill Drive in Greensboro, free of any liens or mortgages. He had lived in the house since the 1950s and raised his family there. However, in 2015 J.V.M. began to reach the bottom of his retirement savings. He approached at least one bank and attempted to arrange a reverse mortgage. He then approached his friend Kramer who had told him that she was a wealthy real estate investor. Kramer represented that she could provide J.V.M. with a reverse mortgage and would provide him a life estate that would allow him to live in the Forest Hill Drive property for the rest of his life. J.V.M. agreed and gave Kramer a deed to the property. However, Kramer included the Forest Hill Drive property as part of a group of properties used to induce a loan from B2R Finance. J.V.M. was unaware that B2R Finance gained a first security interest in the Forest Hill Drive property. At the closing of the loan from B2R Finance, Kramer directed that $146,000 of the proceeds be wired to J.V.M.’s bank account representing the money to be from the purported reverse mortgage. Kramer provided J.V.M. with a life estate in the Forest Hill Drive property, but the life estate was subordinate to the first deed of trust. Kramer then induced J.V.M. to part with half of the proceeds of the purported “reverse mortgage.” She induced him to loan $75,000.00 to a corporation she controlled and gave J.V.M. a promissory note due in one year. These funds were converted to Kramer’s use and never repaid to the victim. Instead, Kramer moved to Colorado and broke off all contact with J.V.M. She made no payments to B2R Finance on the loan, and B2R foreclosed. J.V.M. continued to live in the Forest Hill Drive property secure in his belief that he had a life estate in the property. However, the life estate was extinguished when B2R Finance foreclosed, and J.V.M. was evicted. From Colorado, Kramer moved to Wyoming in an attempt to avoid victims of her frauds who were seeking repayment. She ultimately took a job working on an isolated hunting ranch 15 miles outside Wheatland, Wyoming. She lived in housing owned by the ranch and drove a vehicle registered under a corporate name. Despite these attempts to avoid justice, Postal Inspectors from Greensboro, North Carolina, and Laramie, Wyoming, located Kramer, and arrested her at the ranch. The victim died in 2019. At sentencing, his daughter testified that the eviction had a devastating impact on her father. Kramer was taken into custody at the conclusion of the sentencing hearing. For more information, please see the press release.

On February 18, 2020, the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State, Securities Division entered into a Final Consent Order (“Order”) with Joseph M. Murtagh, Jr. and Joseph M. Murtagh, Jr. d/b/a The Source. The Order states that The Source and Murtagh violated North Carolina law during at least some of the years they transacted business in North Carolina as an investment adviser and an investment adviser representative without registering pursuant to the North Carolina Investment Advisers Act. Pursuant to the Order, The Source and Murtagh agreed to immediately cease and desist from violating any provisions of the North Carolina Investment Advisers Act or Securities Act and any related administrative rules, to pay a registration fee, to pay a civil penalty, and to pay a sum to the Investor Protection and Education Trust Fund. For more information, click here.

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