Individuals involved have history of securities violations across country
(Carson City, NV – December 9, 2009) – Saying the suspects pose an immediate danger to the public welfare because it appears that they intend to violate the Uniform Securities Act, Carolyn Ellsworth, Securities Administrator for Secretary of State Ross Miller, this week ordered several individuals and their companies with Reno addresses to refrain from offering unregistered securities as investments to consumers. Cease and Desist orders were served on Blue Lotus International, Inc., World Legacy Solutions, Inc., World Legacy Project, Inc., World Legacy Project Foundation, World Legacy Innovations, Inc, Mari Tierney, aka Marie Tierney, and Kevin Krauss, all with the same Reno address – a commercial mail drop at 316 California Ave. Cease & Desist orders were also served on W.A.K. Design Build, LLC and Matt Konopisos at an address on Prototype Drive in Reno; The Commerce Guild, Inc., World Legacy Developments, and Dale R. Harelik, all with Clark County addresses; as well as Gary Lasater, who lists a Parker, CO address, and Brett Cobb of Draper, Utah.
Under Nevada law, securities must be registered or deemed exempt from registration and paid salespersons offering them must be licensed. Not only are the individuals in this case unlicensed in Nevada, several of them are in similar trouble in other states. Investigators say Tierney, Krauss, and Cobb failed to tell investors that they and their companies were served a Cease & Desist Order by Texas authorities in October, 2007. Tierney and Harelik were also defendants in a $10 million civil suit filed in Reno in April, 2007, alleging racketeering, securities fraud, and other charges. Tierney agreed to pay back more than $250,000 to settle the case, but has reportedly not returned any money to date. And in May of 2008, the Utah Attorney General issued an arrest warrant for Cobb alleging theft, securities fraud, elder exploitation and other charges. Investigators say Cobb has agreed to plead guilty to four counts of Securities Fraud in that case.
“Fraudsters like these who get in trouble in one place will keep taking their scam on the road as long as there are potential victims out there,” said Secretary of State Ross Miller. “We caught up with them this time, but often they’re here and gone before their victims even realize they’ve been scammed. I can’t repeat often enough that Nevadans have to be extremely wary of any investment offer that doesn’t come from a reputable, reliable source. People simply must check before they invest. Before investing a dime, they should call my office to see if the proper licenses and registrations are in place.”
The Cease & Desist order states that the security offered is not registered as required, and the companies and individuals are not licensed as required by state and federal law. In addition, the order states the individuals omitted material facts regarding their previous business practices.
The Secretary of State’s Securities Division launched its investigation after receiving information that a Sparks couple had invested $10,000 with Tierney and expected a return of up to 25% in five years and a 1% interest in a multi-million dollar business.
The Cease & Desist orders were served by certified mail and prohibit the respondents from offering investments until the securities are properly registered and the seller properly licensed. The respondents have 45 days to request a hearing on the matter. If no request is made or depending on the results of the hearing, the Secretary of State’s Securities Administrator may issue a permanent order, seek sanctions, or pursue a criminal prosecution.
Anyone who may have invested with these individuals or is suspicious of any investment offer is encouraged to call the Secretary of State’s Securities Division at 1-800-758-6440.
UPDATED January 22, 2013:
Matt Konopisos – Administrative Consent Order Lifting Summary Order to Cease and Desist
Gary Lasater – Administrative Consent Order Lifting Summary Order to Cease and Desist
Dale Harelik – Administrative Consent Order Lifting Summary Order to Cease and Desist
Kevin Krauss – Administrative Consent Order Lifting Summary Order to Cease and Desist