Lt. Governor Francis Says Avoid Investment Fraud –Investigate Before You Invest PDF Print


For Immediate Release No. 14-10

March 22, 2010

For More Information Contact:

Shawna Richards, Director of Communications
Ph:  (340) 773-6459 ext. 3129
Fax: (340) 719-3801

Lt. Governor Francis Says Avoid Investment Fraud
 –Investigate Before You Invest  

Lieutenant Governor Gregory R. Francis is advising Virgin Islands residents to safeguard their savings from investment fraud by becoming informed investors.  To that end, he reminds the public to be proactive about their investments by checking with the Division of Banking and Insurance to verify that any individual claiming to be a broker-dealer, financial planner or investment advisor is registered in the territory.  Similarly, any financial product for sale must be registered with the Division if not subject to a valid exemption.

According to Lt. Governor Francis, investment fraud comes in many forms and can touch all types of investors.  Fraudulent schemes may include newspaper advertisements promising free money, unsolicited phone calls or e-mails promising individuals a supposed “high-return, low risk” opportunity, or financial seminars where high-pressure tactics are used to extract monies from investors.  Red flags should be raised, for example, whenever an investment promises the avoidance of taxes or an individual is pressured to recruit family and friends to the investment opportunity.

Francis said that investors should also be careful that their decision to invest is not influenced by friendship or other affiliation.  He notes that investment funds should never be entrusted to someone simply because that person is a friend, family member, co-worker or member of one’s church.  “In these challenging times, Virgin
Islanders should be able to trust the people who handle their money,” he stated.

Francis, who serves as the Chairman of the Virgin Islands Banking Board and the territory’s Commissioner of Insurance, recommends that investors throughout the territory follow these fraud prevention tips:

  • Always investigate before you invest.  If an investment sounds too good to be true, your instincts may be correct and the investment may not be legitimate;
  • Always request written information that details the risk in the investment and procedures to withdraw your money;
  • Never pay cash for an investment.
  • Take your time and get answers to any financial matter you do not understand – don’t give in to high-pressure tactics; and
  • Don’t let desire for money cloud your judgment

Persons are encouraged to contact the Division of Banking and Insurance at (340) 773-6459 on St. Croix or (340) 744-7166 for the St. Thomas/St. John district if they believe they have been a victim of investment fraud or to verify the license status of an investment advisor. 

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