Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman ordered Jeffrey Rodd of Redwood Falls, Minnesota and Redwood Valley Interests, LLC today to cease and desist from selling securities in the State of Minnesota.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce took action against Rodd after receiving a complaint in January from a resident of the Redwood Falls area who had not been repaid as promised for his investment. The Commerce Department’s investigation found that four southwestern Minnesota residents who were solicited by Rodd were senior citizens, one of whom had been suffering from dementia at the time of investment; and two investors who claim to have invested their entire retirement savings – one of whom literally invested virtually all the proceeds from the sale of his farm. The Department’s order alleges further ongoing wrongful conduct that appears to be a pattern of activity designed to defraud investors.
“Senior citizens are particularly vulnerable to financial abuse in the form of scams and fraud, due to diminished capacity as a result of aging, and ongoing concerns about their economic situation during retirement in a slow economy,” said Commissioner Mike Rothman. “Scam artists who prey on Minnesota seniors need to know that the Commerce Department is cracking down on fraud to protect all consumers and investors, especially those who may be at a greater risk.”
The Commerce Department’s Securities Section found Rodd has a history of noncompliance with the law, beginning in 2001, when Rodd initially entered into a Consent Order with the Department involving the sale of unregistered securities. Rodd was a former police officer, and he should have felt obligated to understand and comply with the laws and regulations in conducting the promotion of investments, especially since he advertised his investments through a radio program called “Safe Money Radio” in 2008, and more recently through his promotion of high interest, unsecured Promissory Notes in the Redwood Falls, Minnesota newspaper.
Upon receipt of the complaint, the Department’s Securities Section initiated an investigation that included statements taken from persons who purchased the unregistered securities, telephone interviews of investors, an interview with Rodd and a thorough review of documents obtained by the Department from multiple sources including the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
Based on its investigation, the Commerce Department’s concluded that Rodd committed numerous violations of Minnesota laws intended to protect investors. Minnesota law requires persons selling investments to be licensed by the state, to register with the state the investments being offered and full disclosure regarding the investments being offered to the public. Rodd has never been licensed to sell securities in the State of Minnesota. The Promissory Notes sold by Rodd were not registered for sale in the state. Further, Rodd failed to disclose critical information about the investments he was selling, which would have potentially deterred investors from investing in the products he offered.
Page 2 of 2 - On behalf of Minnesota investors, the Commerce Department ordered Rodd to cease and desist from engaging in unlicensed activity of any kind and offering or selling any securities or other types of investment products. Additionally, the Commissioner ordered Rodd to pay the State of Minnesota a civil penalty of $300,000.
“Consumers and investors need to check the credentials of the individuals offering investment opportunities,” said Commissioner Mike Rothman. “Unfortunately, there are scam artists out there who repeatedly defraud investors for personal gain. I urge all potential investors to protect themselves and their financial security by checking the credentials of their investor advisors and when a deal seems ‘too-good-to-be-true’ to check it out thoroughly or contact the Commerce Department.”
If you have questions or want to report suspicious activity, the Commerce Department’s Consumer Help Line can be reached by phone at (651) 296-2488 or (800) 657-3602. Questions or consumer complaints can also be sent by email to email@example.com or by mail to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, 85 7th Place East, Suite 500, Saint Paul, MN 55101.
For more information on investments and securities visit the Minnesota Department of Commerce Securities Section online. Questions or consumer complaints related to securities can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.