SEC Charges Atlanta Investment Adviser with Fraudulent Securities Offering and Misappropriating Investor Funds and Obtains Temporary Restraining Order

November 13, 2020/US SEC

On November 12, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Atlanta, Georgia-based investment adviser Christopher Burns with defrauding investors and misappropriating investor funds.

According to the SEC’s complaint, Burns, through his investment adviser firm Investus Advisers LLC d/b/a Dynamic Money LLC, sold more than $10 million in promissory notes issued by two of his other companies-Investus Financial LLC and Peer Connect LLC-to investors. The complaint alleges that Burns falsely told investors that he would use investor funds for a peer-to-peer lending program for businesses in need of capital. Burns allegedly claimed that the notes were backed by collateral and that they presented little or no risk. According to the complaint, the peer-to-peer lending program was a sham, and Burns spent the money he raised to repay earlier investors, fund his lifestyle, and elevate his status as an investment adviser by purchasing tens of thousands of dollars of airtime for his local radio show. The complaint further alleges that Burns increased his promissory note sales in recent months, then disappeared with investor proceeds in late September 2020.

The complaint charges Burns, Investus Advisers LLC d/b/a Dynamic Money LLC, Investus Financial LLC, and Peer Connect LLC with violations of the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and Sections 206(1) and 206(2) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, and names Burns’s ex-wife, Meredith Burns, as a relief defendant. The SEC seeks preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, an asset freeze, an accounting, disgorgement of all ill-gotten gains plus prejudgment interest, and civil penalties.

On November 12, 2020, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia entered an order temporarily restraining the defendants from violating the charged provisions of the federal securities laws, instituting an asset freeze, and ordering other relief.

The SEC’s investigation has been conducted by Rebekah R. Runyon and H.B. Roback, and supervised by Thomas B. Bosch. The litigation will be handled by H.B. Roback and Rebekah R. Runyon, and supervised by Graham Loomis.

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