South Florida Man Charged With Selling Securities Without a License
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office arrested Wellington resident Bartholomew Caso, Jr. for allegedly selling securities as an unregistered dealer. He was released after posting $3,000 bail.
According to the arrest report, the police were alerted to Caso’s alleged wrongdoing in February 2012 when they received a complaint from Josephine Stetson, an elderly woman from Lake Park. Ms. Stetson told investigators that she thought she had been swindled out of $25,000 by Caso. According to police, in early 2010, Stetson and a handful of other investors, including 5 Palm Beach County residents, met with Caso regarding investing in a company called Preferred Spectrum Investments LLC (“PSI”.) According to the probable cause affidavit, Caso told investors that after one year, they would each receive $300 per month on their $25,000 minimum investment.
According to its website, PSI acquires 800 MHz licenses from the Federal Communications Commission with the intent of leasing the licenses to wireless carriers for a profit. The website also indicates that investment opportunities are available for “accredited investors.” Accredited investors are defined in the federal securities laws as individuals who have a net worth exceeding $1 million. It is unknown whether the individuals solicited by Caso are accredited investors.
According to police, Ms. Stetson invested $25,000 in March 2010 and received a certificate for one Class “C” share of PSI. In April 2011 when she was supposed to receive her first $300 monthly payment, she instead received a notice that she had lost $22,840 on her investment. In early 2012 Ms. Stetson received a notice that the remainder of her investment had been lost. At that point, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation (“FLOFR”) began to investigate.
FLOFR’s investigation revealed that Caso was never licensed in Florida as a broker, dealer or associated person. According to investigators, 9 investors invested a total of $350,000 in PSI through Caso, for which Caso allegedly received finder’s fees of $48,971.