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SEC Charges Solicitor in Investment Scheme Targeting Deaf Community

David P. Meyer

Earlier this month, the SEC filed a civil injunction action against Jody Dunn, a 43-year-old deaf man from Texas, for misrepresentation, misappropriation, and the fraudulent, unregistered offer and sale of investments in Imperia Invest IBC, a company the SEC has already charged with securities fraud.

According to the SEC's complaint, Dunn defrauded approximately 7,133 deaf investors out of $3.45 million through the solicitation of life-insurance investments for Imperia. The complaint further accuses him of siphoning off $353,068 of investor funds for his personal use. He deposited the remainder of the investor funds into Imperia's offshore bank accounts.

According to the SEC's complaint, Dunn failed to verify Imperia's credentials or whether the company was actually investing money as promised. Additionally, the SEC accuses Dunn of continuing to reassure investors of Imperia's legitimacy even after the SEC issued an investor alert warning the deaf community that the Internet-based company was defrauding investors. The alert warned investors that Imperia was fraudulently guaranteeing "annual returns in excess of 1.2% per day" while actually "siphoning the [investors'] funds into foreign bank accounts and not paying any money back to investors."

"No money has been invested, no TEP's were purchased and no investor received any return," wrote the SEC.

Dunn is currently unemployed and receiving social security disability payments, according to the SEC. From August 2007 through July 2010, his primary source of income came from Imperia.

The SEC is seeking civil penalties and disgorgement.

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