Texas Securities Commissioner Stops White-Collar Criminal's Latest Investment Scheme

May 27

Texas Securities Commissioner Travis J. Iles entered an Emergency Cease and Desist Order to stop a white-collar criminal from promoting a fraudulent forex and binary options scheme targeting Texas investors.

According to the order, Florida resident Stephen Charles Peterson controls Winchester Financial Group, PCI Group Companies, Inc., and PCI Group Companies, Ltd.  They are promoting their forex and binary options investments to residents of Houston and touting lucrative profits. The parties claim they can earn 100 percent returns per month regardless of “whether the market is going up or down.” They even claim they will compound investors’ returns on a monthly basis for the first year, according to the order. 

Although they may be portraying themselves as legitimate businesses, the order alleges Peterson is actually a white-collar criminal attempting to defraud Texans.   

According to the order, in 1991, Peterson pleaded guilty to theft and fraudulent schemes and artifices, was sentenced to serve 5 years in prison and was ordered to repay more than $100,000 to victims.  He was later prosecuted for a different scheme, and in 2000, Peterson pleaded guilty to two counts of theft, was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison and was ordered to repay more than $750,000 to victims.  He was also prosecuted for other crimes and filed for bankruptcy twice, according to the order. 

“White-collar criminals use the internet to conceal their past and pretend to be successful professionals,” said Commissioner Iles.  “Investors need to continue to remain vigilant.  They should thoroughly investigate the background and qualifications of promoters before turning over their money.”

The Securities Board encourages investors to contact the agency when conducting due diligence.  The agency can provide important information, such as verification of registration status or public information about regulatory actions or criminal prosecutions.

The order stops Peterson and his companies from illegally and fraudulently offering in securities in Texas.  They have 30 days to challenge the order.