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Securities News Releases
Monday, September 11, 2006
Contact: Stacie Temple, (573) 526-5076
Contact: Carrie Bebermeyer, (573) 526-0949
Carnahan Halts Company's Bogus Real Estate Investment Venture
Potential Investor Helps Thwart Scam
Jefferson City, Missouri - Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan's Commissioner of Securities, Matt Kitzi, recently ordered Washington-based Caobo Company and its CEO, Paul Henry Willms, to stop offering unregistered investments in Ukrainian real estate.
The order states that in late 2005 or early 2006, Willms sent a letter offering shares of stock to more than 150 prospective Missouri investors who he believed were Mennonites or descendants of Mennonites. Willms' letter asked for a minimum investment of $1,000 and explained that Caobo Company was going to reclaim land in the Ukraine that was taken by force from the Mennonites during the Communist Revolution of 1917.
However, a cautious investor who received the letter helped thwart this company's attempt to illegally promote investments and potentially take advantage of investors. He reported it to the Kansas State Securities Division, which referred it to the Missouri Securities Division, a division of Carnahanís office, for investigation.
"Thanks to a smart investor, Missouri citizens have been tipped off about a potential scam," said Carnahan. "It is important to check out both the person and company offering any investment by calling our investor protection hotline, especially if the offer comes to you unsolicited."
Carnahan also cautions investors to do their homework ahead of time even if they think they have common bonds with the person through religious, ethnic, cultural, professional or community affiliation, because some unscrupulous companies and individuals may attempt to use their common interests or affiliations to promote their investment products.
For more information regarding investments and fraud protection, or for information regarding a company or representative, call the Missouri Investor Protection Hotline toll-free at 1-800-721-7996 or visit the Secretary of State's web site at www.sos.mo.gov/securities.