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NC SOS

Latest Enforcement News

  • (2021-04-05) Anthony Wayne March, 49, of Wake Forest, NC, was sentenced to 135 months for wire fraud for his role in an $8.1 million Ponzi scheme. He was also ordered to pay $6,040,965.00 in restitution. For more details, please see this press release.
  • (2021-03-15) Charles Gilbert Murphy, a serial fraudster from Apex, NC, was sent back to federal prison for an investment scam involving impersonation of a mayor, professor, and a government agency. For more information, see this press release.
  • (2020-09-08) A federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment charging Joshua Matthew Houchins, 36, of Sanford, NC, with fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice and firearms offenses. The charges were announced today in federal court (see press release). The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the North Carolina Secretary of State are investigating the case. The Wake County Sheriff’s Office, Apex Police Department, and Sanford Police Department, also provided assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorney William M. Gilmore is prosecuting the case. An indictment is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
  • (2020-08-13) Graham, N.C. Man Is Sentenced To More Than Five Years For $1.1 Million Investment Scheme. (Press Release.)
  • (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.
  • (2020-05-26) A federal grand jury indictment was unsealed today revealing that Joshua Matthew Houchins, 36, of Sanford, NC, has been charged with fraud and money laundering (see press release). The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the North Carolina Secretary of State are investigating the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney William M. Gilmore is prosecuting the case. An indictment is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
  • (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 April 5, 2021, Anthony Wayne March, 49, of Wake Forest, NC, was sentenced to 135 months imprisonment for wire fraud and ordered to pay $6,040,965.00 in restitution. According to court documents, Anthony Wayne 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. During the course of the scheme, March solicited at least 22 victims to invest over $8,100,000 in charitable gift annuities and other products offered by Asset Trader. March and Asset Trader sold these securities to victims as retirement or exit planning vehicles classified as donations to March’s § 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization. March did not utilize any of the victim’s money for charitable purposes; rather, he spent the money on "Ponzi" payments, his own lavish lifestyle, and expenses of the scheme. G. Norman Acker, III, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, made the announcement after sentencing by Chief U.S. District Judge Richard E. Myers II. 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 more information, see this press release and the entry at August 3, 2020 below.

On March 26, 2021, the Securities Division of the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State issued a Temporary Cease and Desist Order to Respondents, Roy Neil Carlson and Carlson Financial Services, LLC. The order found Respondents were transacting business in the State of North Carolina in violation of the North Carolina Investment Advisers Act. The Temporary Order to Cease and Desist ordered each Respondent and any person, employee, officer, director, entity or independent contractor under the direction or control of Respondents, to immediately cease and desist from violating the anti-fraud provisions of the Investment Advisers Act, soliciting or providing investment advice to any prospective or current advisory clients, making or causing to be made any misleading filing to the Administrator and otherwise holding itself out to be or engaged in the business of an investment adviser or investment adviser representative. The Temporary Order to Cease and Desist gives Respondents 30 days in which to request a hearing. If no such request is made during that time, The Temporary Order to Cease and Desist shall become final. For more information, click here.

On March 15, 2021, Charles Gilbert Murphy, 64, a serial fraudster from Apex, NC, was sentenced to 75 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $909,763.28 in restitution owed to dozens of victims on charges of Wire Fraud and Aiding and Abetting and Aggravated Identity Theft. The case showed that defendant Charles Gilbert Murphy was subject to collection efforts by the United States Government arising from a prior federal conviction for Wire Fraud in June of 1999 in this same district. To avoid his payment obligations Murphy used his family members to open bank accounts for him in the name of various companies he controlled, referred to in the Indictment as the “Murphy Entities.” Murphy used the Murphy Entities to obtain money from individuals and entities under false and fraudulent pretenses. Murphy defrauded dozens of victims in this case. Many of the victims lost down payments they paid to Murphy, trusting that he would deliver on his promises. Unfortunately, others lost their life savings. At sentencing the Government sought and obtained an order of restitution on behalf of these victims, totaling $909,763.28. The investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, and the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State, Securities Division. Assistant United States Attorney William M. Gilmore represents the United States. For more information, see this press release.

On January 7, 2021, the Temporary Cease and Desist Order entered on November 9, 2020 against Claybourne Glenn Bass and Claybourne Glenn Bass, LLC (the "Bass Respondents") became final, permanently barring the Bass Respondents from among other things, soliciting for purchase, offering or selling securities in North Carolina until such time as they become fully compliant with North Carolina's securities laws. For more information, click here.

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