Lindeen Orders Potential Ponzi Scheme to Cease in Montana
Park County Woman Lost Most of Life's Savings
May 20, 2014
HELENA – Montana Securities Commissioner Monica J. Lindeen has filed an action to immediately prevent a Florida man and his company from luring more Montanans into a scam that has cost one Park County woman most of her life's savings and is the subject of federal fraud charges.
Lindeen filed a Cease and Desist Order and Notice of Proposed Agency Action last week against TBTI, Inc. and one of its owners, Paul Schumack. TBTI is a Florida-based company that claims to make "virtual concierge" touch screen machines. The ATM-like units are purported to be placed in hotel lobbies and ballparks and allows users to access services and print coupons. Revenues would come from advertisements. Investors were promised hundreds of dollars a month in "guaranteed income" on their investment.
Lindeen's office received a complaint about Schumack and TBTI in late March. An elderly Park County woman bought four of the kiosks after she heard about them from an acquaintance. Under the scheme, the woman paid Schumack $14,000. In return, he promised her at least $300 in monthly income for four years. She never received any return on her investment.
Schumack is not registered to sell securities in Montana, nor is his virtual kiosk investment opportunity registered with state officials. Lindeen has alleged he is violating state law on both counts.
The Montana investor did not see her machines, as they were sold as investment opportunities and were not necessarily physically located in Montana.
Investigators suspect there may be more Montana victims. If you or someone you know has been contacted by or invested with Schumack, TBTI, Inc. or JCS Enterprises, Inc. please contact Lynne Egan, deputy securities commissioner, at (406) 444-2040 or (800) 332-6148 as soon as possible.
On April 8, the federal Securities and Exchange Commission filed fraud charges against Schumack and his associates – and froze their assets. According to SEC information, Schumack's company was operating as a Ponzi scheme – which means it was using the money from new investors to pay the returns to those who had previously bought into the scheme. Such operations are illegal and invariably collapse when the dollars from new people coming into the system are not enough to cover the promised "return on investments" to those who bought "investments" previously.