FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Contact: Kevin Flannery, (573) 526-0949
Kander Cracks Down on Church Scam Artist
Jefferson City, Mo. — Secretary of State Jason Kander cracked down on a scam artist who took advantage of several church members’ generosity to sell bogus investments. Henry T. Hammond and his Excelsior Springs-based company, Longhorn Properties, LLC, both face multiple counts of securities fraud and are under orders from Kander’s office to halt any further solicitations.
"Scam artists will often do whatever it takes to get to folks’ savings, including violating the trust people place in their faith communities," Kander said. "Missourians expect the money they give to religious causes to support charitable and mission-based activities, not pad the pockets of rogue con men."
According to Kander’s office, Hammond used a mutual friend to solicit a member of a Kansas City-area church to invest in a product called the "Maranatha Platform," which promised "fast returns." Hammond claimed the Maranatha investment had no risk and would be used to support humanitarian projects, including the construction of churches throughout the world. Hammond allegedly told the parishioner an investment of $400,000 would generate up to $1,000,000 per month for 10 months. Over the course of several months, the parishioner invested approximately $420,000 with Hammond.
After the Maranatha Platform failed to produce the promised rate of return, Hammond solicited the church member to invest with his company in a hotel project. The individual was purportedly promised a 10 percent stake in the hotel ownership for an investment of $676,275 and would receive a return of approximately $1,500,000 over 14 months. Hammond also sought—and received—more than $120,000 from the parishioner’s 81-year-old mother and 47-year-old brother.
"When something sounds too good to be true, it almost always is—just like the promises in this case," Kander said. "When approached with investment offers, it’s important to take a step back and check on the credentials of the project and person making the offer by calling my office."
Kander’s office alleges that the investor funds were used to make cash payments to Hammond as well as to pay for Macy’s, American Express and Visa credit card accounts in Hammond’s name. Additionally, investor funds were wired to a United Arab Emirates bank account under the control of another individual.
In addition to prohibiting Hammond from soliciting investors, Kander is seeking an order requiring Hammond to pay restitution to the victims.
For more information, visit www.MissouriSafeSavings.com or call 1-800-721-7996.
Visit www.sos.mo.gov to learn more about the Office of the Missouri Secretary of State.
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