BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — A Boca Raton man allegedly bilked more than 20 investors out of nearly one million dollars in an investment scheme uncovered by Boca Raton Police and state investigators.
According to the Office of Financial Regulation and Boca PD:
The Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) announces the arrest today of Victor Bauza, 49, by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. Bauza was charged by the Florida Office of Statewide Prosecution with securities violations, grand theft and organized scheme to defraud. The defendant allegedly solicited more than $800,000 from 20 investors to purchase shares of Medical Informatics Xchange (MIX).The joint investigation by the OFR and the Boca Raton Police Department determined that from February 2010 through November of 2011, the defendant sold shares of MIX for between $1 and $1.50 a share and falsely told investors that MIX would be conducting an initial public offering in the near future. Bauza purportedly told investors that the price of the shares would rise between $4 and $6 a share once they began trading on public exchanges. The investigation revealed, however, that a substantial portion of the money raised from investors was used to pay commissions and for the personal benefit of the defendant. None of the victims received shares of the company and MIX never conducted an initial public offering of its shares.The principals of MIX are not believed to have participated in the alleged fraudulent scheme. Contrary to the defendant’s representations, MIX principals claimed that the company was never involved in preparing an initial public offering of its stock.“The OFR is proud to work with our law enforcement partners to bring justice to those involved with this fraudulent scheme,” said OFR Commissioner Drew J. Breakspear. “We urge consumers to do their homework before investing and to only work with registered securities dealers.”“Abusing the trust of investors and profiting from deceptive practices is illegal,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi. “I applaud the Office of Financial Regulation and the Boca Raton Police Department for their investigative work, and my Office of Statewide Prosecution will hold the defendant accountable for his actions and protect investors from future harm.”“This investigation demonstrates the ability of our team to successfully investigate these complex and lengthy financial cases. We remain unwaveringly committed to aggressively pursuing criminals who target our citizens in any way, including through the use of these predatory investment schemes,” said Boca Raton Police Department Chief Dan Alexander.The OFR encourages all potential investors to research any financial product fully and to take measures to protect themselves:
• Verify the license of the company or individual with whom you plan to do business before investing.
• Seek a second or third party opinion. Inquire with multiple professionals and find one who listens and understands your financial goals.
• Get everything in writing. Ask for brochures or written information that fully explains the product so you can more clearly see the products that are being offered.
• Ask questions on anything you don’t understand. Be sure you fully understand the products being offered before you invest.
• Consider any investment carefully and completely beforehand. Don’t be afraid to “sleep on it” before making a decision. Don’t rush or be rushed. Follow patient due process in making your decisions.
• Be wary of products that sound too good to be true. Keep in mind the old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”