Dentist to pay nearly $900,000 in fraud case
Aspen Times Staff Writer
A local dentist who was accused of defrauding friends and clients out of almost $900,000 in a securities investment scheme has reached a settlement with the Colorado Securities Division.
Aspen resident Dr. Daniel R. George neither admits nor denies the allegations as part of the settlement agreement, but he has agreed to pay $892,373 in damages on behalf of the alleged scheme’s victims.
The state securities division opened an investigation into George’s activities in August 2001, based on complaints from a number of Colorado residents, mainly from the Aspen area, who invested with him. Investigators determined that George had allegedly been engaging in securities fraud and was allegedly operating as an unlicensed securities broker.
As a result of the investigation, the state attorney general’s office filed a lawsuit against George in October 2002.
“People lost money, and clearly we believe he was not licensed to sell these securities that were unregistered,” said Fred Joseph, commissioner of the securities division. “He said he was going to invest in companies with initial public offerings that were private at that point, and he said they were going to go public.”
Between March 1997 and September 2001, George solicited promissory notes to approximately 53 investors and collected a total of $892,373, according to the securities division. Amounts received from the investors, who were primarily George’s acquaintances, friends and patients, ranged from $1,000 to $107,000, Joseph said.
Using the promissory notes, George would borrow money from the investors to invest in stocks that he said were about to go public. He then intended to sell the stock he purchased, repay the loans and split the profits, giving 75 percent of profits to investors and keeping 25 percent for himself.
According to the securities division, George provided little if any information on each company to his investors, other than what was available from the companies’ Web sites. He solicited investments for at least five private companies, including Jordan Pharmaceuticals and Rangestar International. When the companies never completed initial public offerings, the investors received no returns.
“You have to be licensed, and the securities have to be registered,” Joseph said.
As part of the settlement agreement, George can get releases from investors by an Oct. 13 deadline, which may reduce the amount he owes the securities commission. Joseph said the money that George pays as part of the settlement will go back to the investors.
George had been scheduled to go to trial for the lawsuit on Sept. 8.
Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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