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Latest Enforcement News

  • (2023-07-28) California man, Gustavo Guzman, 60, pleads guilty to securities fraud for orchestrating $2M investment scheme. For details, please see this press release.
  • (2022-04-27) Founders Of Fake "Hedge Fund," Austin Delano Page and Brandon Alexander Teague, Plead Guilty To Federal Charges For Orchestrating A $4 Million Ponzi Scheme. For more information, see this press release.
  • (2022-04-22) Two Men, Marlin Hershey and Dana Bradley, Are Facing Federal Charges In Connection With Multi-Million Dollar Investment Scheme. Click here for details.
  • (2022-02-08) Case Against Former Forsyth County Investment Adviser, Russell Joseph Mutter, Concludes with Guilty Plea, Lengthy Sentence. Click here for more details.
  • (2021-11-15) Raleigh real estate developer, Joshua Matthew Houchins, 36, sentenced to a decade in prison for his role in a real estate Ponzi scheme and for firearm possession charges. See this press release.
  • (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.

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 October 31, 2023, the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State, Securities Division entered a Summary Order to Bar, Restrict or Limit (“Order”) Safeguard Metals LLC and Jeffrey Ikahn (a/k/a Jeffrey S. Santulan and Jeff Hill)> for acts or practices constituting violations of the North Carolina Securities Act, Investment Advisers Act and the Commodities Act. For more information, click here.

On October 23, 2023, the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State, Securities Division entered into a Final Order ("Order") with True Bullion, LLC d/b/a Gold Silver International Exchange, d/b/a GSI Exchange, and Anthony Allen Anderson (“GSI Exchange”). The Order states that GSI Exchange encouraged North Carolina citizens to buy precious metals, encouraged persons to liquidate securities holdings in order to buy precious metals and did not adequately disclose the risk associated with the purchases. At no time did the Respondents hold a securities registration with the State of North Carolina. Pursuant to the Order, GSI Exchange agreed to immediately cease and desist from violating any provision of the North Carolina Securities Act, the Investment Advisers Act and the Commodities Act and any related administrative rules. GSI Exchange also agreed to offer reimbursement to any eligible purchaser. For more information, click here.

On October 20, 2023, the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State, Securities Division, along with 29 other state regulators and the CFTC, entered into a Consent Order of Permanent Injunction and Other Statutory and Equitable Relief Against Defendants (“Order”) with Safeguard Metals LLC and Jeffrey Ikahn (a/k/a Jeffrey S. Santulan and Jeff Hill). Safeguard and Ikahn made material misrepresentations or omissions in connection with the offer, purchase or sales of securities; provided unregistered investment advice; and employed a device, scheme or artifice to defraud or engaging in an act, practice, or course of business that operates or would operate as a fraud or deceit. As part of the Order, Safeguard and Ikahn agreed to a permanent injunction that enjoins them from violating several federal and state laws including laws that prohibit commodities fraud, securities and investment adviser fraud, and providing unlicensed investment advice. For more information, click here.

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