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SEC Freezes Assets of Ex-Asset Manager

  Securities  -   POSTED: 2007/10/10 15:23

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York entered a preliminary injunction in the SEC’s case against Peter J. Dawson, 49, and his companies BMG Advisory Services, and Ethan Thomas Co. The injunction freezes the Dawson and the firms’ assets as well as those of Dawson's wife, Lisa Dawson. It also orders them to cease violating federal securities laws. The injunctions are the latest step in the Commission’s case, which it initiated in November of last year. The SEC claims that Dawson took more than $2 million from at least seven investment advisory clients in his role as president and sole shareholder of BMG and Ethan Thomas.

The Commission charges that Dawson primarily ripped off his elderly clients in Long Island, NY. As their financial advisor, he recommended that they surrender their variable annuity policies and mortgage their residences. Then he told them to transfer the proceeds to Ethan Thomas for Dawson to manage through BMG.

To get them to agree, Dawson allegedly lied about his investments and how he planned to use their funds. He promised guaranteed returns of between 12% and 15%, and told clients that he would arrange to either pay their mortgages, or pay out monthly returns on the investments they made. In cases where the guaranteed return exceeded the client's mortgage payments, he claimed the excess return would accrue in the client's account.

But instead of investing the money as promised, Dawson misappropriated his clients’ money for his own use. He directly withdrew at least $100,000 of client assets for his personal use.

By March of 2006, he was pushing his clients for fresh infusions of cash just to keep making the mortgage payments he had promised to make.

It appears that the scheme began collapsing in earnest in the summer of 2006. Between August 17 and 23, 2006, the bank servicing the account intended to make Dawson's mortgage payments returned twenty-one checks for insufficient funds, totaling approximately $172,176. By October of 2006, some investors began receiving notices that their mortgages were not being paid. But when they complained to Dawson, who refused to return their calls, and closed down BMG's office.

Then, on November 7, 2006, Dawson attempted to commit suicide. After being briefly

Hospitalized, he was released on November 17, 2006.

One example of Dawson's fraud involved a 64-year old investor. In 2004, he recommended that the investor refinance his New York home. The investor then lived in Long Island and had been Dawson's client for approximately ten years. Dawson advised the investor to transfer the a large chunk of the proceeds from the refinancing to a "special account" at one of Dawson's firms. He guaranteed the investor a 15% return and promised to make the mortgage payments on the investor's Long Island residence from the investment returns of the "special account." By 2005, that investor had transferred approximately $700,000 to Dawson for his firms to manage.

In October 2006, Dawson sent that investor a BMG fax claiming: "Your certified balance of funds as of March 24,2006 are $884,522.14. The funds are managed by BMG Advisory Services, Ltd." The letter was an utter lie, according to the Commission.

The Commission is also seeking disgorgement of all ill-gotten gains and civil penalties, as well as additional relief, including orders permanently enjoining Dawson from committing future violations of the foregoing federal securities laws.


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