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SEC Charges Duo for Using Christian Faith to Defraud Investors

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Brett M. Bartlett, his father-in-law Scott A. Miller, and their companies for fraudulent securities offerings that raised at least $20.5 million, some of which the SEC says Bartlett and Miller misused for personal expenses.

According to the complaint, from at least June 2018 to May 2020, Bartlett and Miller raised funds from more than 1,000 investors nationwide by selling promissory notes, stock and fraudulent gold contracts through their companies, Dynasty Toys Inc., The 7M eGroup Corp., Concept Management Company LLC, and Dynasty Inc.

As the complaint alleges, when soliciting investors, many of them from a large church in central Illinois, Bartlett frequently invoked his Christian faith and attributed his alleged success to divine intervention to win investor trust. The complaint further alleges that, to stave off demand for cash payouts from their unsuccessful business ventures, Bartlett and Miller misled investors, made more than $11 million in Ponzi-like payments and sent to investors $21 million in bad checks that bounced due to insufficient funds. In addition, Bartlett and Miller misappropriated more than $1.2 million for personal use, including vacations, entertainment, and payments for a luxury rental home.

The SEC’s complaint charges the defendants with violating SEC’s rules seeks permanent injunctions, including conduct-based injunctions, disgorgement with prejudgment interest, civil penalties, and officer and director bars.

In a parallel investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois announced criminal charges against Bartlett, 7Me, and Dynasty Toys.

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