Julie Ann Minuskin, a former insurance agent and sole managing member of Retire Happy, a Las Vegas-based firm, is at the center of an alleged $2.5 million retirement fraud scam.
Retire Happy Sold $2.5M in Unregistered Promissory Note Securities
According to a complaint filed by the Massachusetts Securities Division, led by Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin, the fraud was based on the sale of unregistered securities.
The complaint claims that Retire Happy fraudulently exploited senior citizens' retirement accounts and other individuals by acting as an unregistered broker-dealer. And adding that the firm sold $2.5 million in unregistered promissory note securities to roughly 11 investors in the state of Massachusetts.
Moreover, based on the complaint, many of the firms issuing the unregistered securities sold by Retire Happy to customers cannot find funding from other sources and are near bankruptcy.
Reports explain that the Las Vegas-based firm was paid a 12% finder's fee for each investment — translating into $290,000 from the $2.5M of the unregistered securities in question.
Retire Happy Staff Was Trained To Sell The Promissory Notes As Guaranteed Investments
The firm operated by contacting potential investors through unsolicited cold calls and other methods and later convincing clients to transfer their savings into self-directed IRAs provided by Provident Trust Group (a Nevada company that compensated Retire Happy for each IRA opened.)
The complaint declares that the issuers' questionable financial status makes it unlikely that any investor could potentially recover its principal. Nonetheless, the Retire Happy staff was trained to sell the promissory notes as secure, safe, and guaranteed investments.
The commercialization of dubious securities has long been a problem in the retail financial advice business. After the 2017 $1.2 billion Woodbridge Ponzi scheme, the issue of weak insurance regulation came to light.
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