FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 17, 2022
Contact: JoDonn Chaney, (573) 526-0949
Kansas Man Ordered to Pay Millions after Missouri Investors Defrauded
Jefferson City, Mo. — Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s securities division has issued a final order to cease and desist against Overland Park, Kansas resident Robert C. Bridgforth after he defrauded six Missouri investors by selling fake “silver certificates.” The order also prohibits Bridgforth from working in the securities industry and includes nearly $3.3 million in civil penalties and $651,000 in restitution plus interest.
Between April 2018 and August 2020, Bridgforth, through an entity he reportedly called Liberty Gold and Silver, offered and sold securities instruments to six investors in Missouri, including four elderly residents from Warrensburg, Independence and Oak Grove. The certificates were said to be collateralized by gold or silver.
In connection with offering the investments, Bridgforth made material misstatements and omissions, engaged in a Ponzi-like scheme when paying investors interest, and misappropriated investor funds. By engaging in these activities and conduct, Bridgforth violated multiple sections of the Missouri Securities Act.
The year-long investigation concluded with a June 14, 2022, hearing before Missouri Securities Commissioner David M. Minnick, in which Bridgeforth failed to appear. Bridgeforth also must pay $13,000 in investigative costs.
“Offering high rates of return on very official looking documents can be very enticing to investors,” said Ashcroft. “If it sounds – or looks – too good to be true, it probably is.”
June 15, 2022, was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and Ashcroft added, “Cases like this highlight one example of the more than $2.6 billion lost by older Americans due to financial exploitation every year. My office takes elder financial abuse seriously and will continue doing everything in its power to hold offenders accountable.”
Ashcroft urges investors to call the toll-free investor protection hotline at 800-721-7996 or go online to www.missouriprotectsinvestors.com for more information or to file a complaint.
Visit www.sos.mo.gov to learn more about the Office of the Missouri Secretary of State.