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 RALEIGH, N.C., Aug. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Secretary of State Rufus L. Edmisten today headed off a Florida-based company trying to sell securities improperly in North Carolina.
 Edmisten, the top investment regulator in North Carolina, issued a cease-and-desist order against Premier Financial Services, its officers and its representatives in the state.
 Claiming to have a presence in 26 different states, Premier's North Carolina operations were concentrated in the Interstate-40 corridor from Greensboro to Hickory.
 "We have received support for this action from the Securities and Exchange Commission," Secretary Edmisten said. "The SEC has its own investigation going, and has gone so far as to seize Premier's assets in its home state of Florida."
 "Along with our cease-and-desist order, the SEC's action should signal the end of Premier's improper activities," Edmisten said. "The bad news for investors who have already been hooked is that I doubt they will see their money again."
 Edmisten issued the order against: Premier Financial Services of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.; Premier Benefit Capital Trust of Tampa, Fla.; Bobbie Johnson and Susan W. Laxton of Hickory; and Victor S. Konecny of Greensboro.
 Premier's representatives, often insurance brokers by trade, were offering investment opportunities touted as "commercial paper" or "common law contracts." "Commercial paper" must be high-grade offerings to be exempt from registration requirements, but Premier's offerings failed to meet the criteria set out in North Carolina law, said Secretary Edmisten.
 "Premier failed to adequately alert people to the risks involved in the investment," Edmisten said. "For that matter, Premier deceived potential customers by not warning them that the company was the subject of a SEC investigation."
 Secretary Edmisten encouraged any investor who bought an offering from Premier to contact the Securities and Commodities Division at (919)733-3924. "That will help our investigators learn about the extent of Premier's operations in North Carolina," he said.
 Premier had only been doing business a few months in North Carolina, so the number of North Carolinians affected may not be that high, Edmisten said.
 "Our investigation began as we received the first inquiry from an alert broker," Edmisten said. "The broker was suspicious about Premier's offers because they sounded too good to be true."
 "Unfortunately, it is one of the truisms of the investment industry that a deal that sounds too good to be true often isn't any good at all," Edmisten said.
 -0- 8/3/93
 /CONTACT: Elliott Warnock of the N.C. Department of the Secretary of State, 919-733-5150/

CO: N.C. Department of the Secretary of State; Premier Financial
 Services ST: North Carolina, Florida IN: FIN SU:

CM -- CH004 -- 8856 08/03/93 11:19 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 3, 1993

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