Morrison orders illegal pyramid scheme,
fake insurance scheme to shut down
Utah-Based Sure Foundation International, Inc., International Business Education Association Issued Cease and Desist Order by Montana State Auditor
HMontana's State Auditor, John Morrison announced today a Cease and Desist Order has been issued against Sure Foundation International, Inc. a Santa Clara, Utah based company.
Both the securities and insurance departments have alleged Sure Foundation International, Inc. (SFI) and International Business Education Association (IBEA) violated Montana law by committing insurance and securities fraud.
"These unscrupulous promoters will not be tolerated in Montana," Morrison said." When scam artists target our state with the intent to defraud our citizens, that's when we clamp down on their callous tactics. I will do all that I can to stop these insurance and investment abuses."
The allegations in the complaint indicate SFI and IBEA, have come to Montana to promote and conduct an illegal pyramid scheme.
As part of the promotion, SFI and IBEA are alleged to have offered insurance to participants without specific authority. It appears that the insurance coverage offered, at no cost to the participants in the illegal pyramid scheme, does not exist. One participant called the State Auditor's Office concerned about the promised insurance coverage because this Montanan needed surgery.
At least 200 Montanans appear to already be participants, and may have violated the Securities Act and the Insurance Code themselves by promoting or conducting the illegal pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes operate on recruitment for memberships. The scheme collapses when the market becomes saturated as the supply of new members declines and representatives recruited later in time are unable to generate promised returns.
One of the many allegations by the departments is that SFI failed to register the security as required by Montana state law. Proper registration is one means utilized by the securities department to identify illegal activity.
SFI and IBEA are not licensed in any capacity with the State Auditor's Office (either under the Securities Act or the Insurance Code) as required before conducting securities or insurance business in Montana. They have promoted and conducted their illegal pyramid scheme in numerous Montana communities, including Superior, Bigfork, Lewistown, Missoula, St. Ignatius, Charlo, Bozeman, Whitefish, Fairfield, East Helena, and Glendive, according to documents filed in the case.
Should the Auditor's Office prevail in their allegations, administrative fines ranging from $5,000 per violation of the Securities Act and up to $25,000 for violations of the Insurance Code may be sought. Additionally, both departments seek restitution for victims of the alleged illegal scheme.
"Protecting consumers and ridding the state of this type of costly, illegal activity will continue to be a top priority of the State Auditor's Office," stated Morrison. "Before making any investment or purchasing any insurance policy, Montanans are urged to check with the State Auditor's Office to confirm that the agent and product is properly registered in the state of Montana."
If you have been contacted, or have information concerning any of these entities, please contact the State Auditor's Office at 1-800-332-6148.