The specter of the firm behind the “Money Guys” commercials has resurfaced despite being barred from the investment advice industry, the Baltimore Sun reports. The Maryland attorney general has just ordered a halt on a firm running their investment advice business out of the disgraced company’s offices, according to the paper.
In addition to the halt, Attorney General Brian Frosh’s office is seeking fines against High Point Wealth Management and a permanent bar on co-founder and CEO Perry Santillo Jr. from doing business in the state, the Baltimore Sun writes. High Point operates out of the former corporate headquarters of Everest Wealth Management, the company behind the “Money Guys” commercials that was barred, along with owner Philip Rousseaux, by the Maryland state securities division from the investment advice business last March and fined $255,000, according to the paper.
According to Frosh’s office, High Point Wealth, High Point Insurance Solutions and Santillo sold unregistered securities, engaged in fraud and acted as an unregistered investment advisor, broker-dealer and agent, the Baltimore Sun writes.
In November, Santillo and High Point allegedly started contacting Everest customers telling them that Everest Wealth had been acquired by High Point, according to the paper. By January, High Point had convinced at least 23 former Everest customers to get out of $2 million worth of securities and transfer the money to Quest IRA Inc., which provides self-directed individual retirement accounts, the Baltimore Sun writes.
The state’s order says such accounts are “not suitable for an investor who is unprepared to manage his or her own investments and who is accustomed to relying on the services of an investment adviser,” according to the paper.
In one case, an unnamed third-party advisor recommended that a former Everest client surrender an annuity that ended up costing the client $34,000 in surrender fees, according to the state’s order cited by the paper. In addition, the state alleges High Point paid or agreed to pay Rousseaux, who is barred from the investment advice industry in the state, according to the Baltimore Sun.