It began with a small Baptist Church in East Texas. According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Paul D. Poetter sold members of that church ”trust certificates” that investors could purportedly exchange for “common shares” of a publicly traded-company called 4309, Inc., a public shell company controlled by Poetter. “Later, Poetter allegedly told investors they would receive shares of AMs-TEC Acquisitions (“AMs-TEC”), a purported Arizona entity that Poetter claimed had a “projected value of $13.5 billion” and was qualified to trade on a European stock exchange.”
In “shareholder newsletters” mailed to investors, Poetter encouraged investors to solicit investments from family members and friends. Poetter allegedly misrepresented to investors that AMs-TEC and its affiliated entities were in the process of acquiring, or had acquired, several valuable assets or companies. For example, Poetter touted AMs-TEC’s acquisition of an African cocoa processing plant with negotiated contracts to process over $120 million worth of cocoa. However, Poetter never acquired the cocoa plant and there were no outstanding orders to process cocoa. It is also alleged that Poetter misappropriated and misapplied investor funds by transferring millions of dollars to various affiliated entities which were used to fund various administrative and employment-related expenses, including at least $300,000 paid to Poetter.
The complaint also named as defendants three of Poetter’s affliated entities, 4309 Inc., 4309 Acquistion Trust, and AMs-TEC Acquisition Trust, as well as four entities named as relief defendants, AMs-TEC Commodities, Inc., AMs-TEC Energy, Corp., Greener Cleaner Farms, Inc., and RoboCargo Corporation.
Poetter ultimately raised more than $5.2 million from more than 2300 investors nationwide. But the damage goes beyond the financial losses. People have lost not just money, but also friendships and maybe even their faith. Please, never invest in anything sold by appeal to your faith or the supposed faith of the person offering the investment. Remember that while a life-long friend may be utterly convinced that the investment he tells you about is legitimate, unless he has SEC experience it is just as likely that he has been duped by a cleverly-disguised scam.
Care enough about your church, your friends, and your nest egg to hire a professional investor protection company to do a pre-investment investigation. You might save not just yourself, but also many others.