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Time is money When you're running a scam.

SWIFTER SHUTDOWNS AWAIT COLORADO STOCK FRAUDS

CEASE AND DESIST.

Not reading, but dealing in phony stock scams.

Colorado did a little catching up during the last legislative session. It didn't get much press, but it gives the state's securities regulators a stronger hand than they've ever had before.

Colorado, known as a haven for penny-stock cheats during much of the "greed-is-good" 9805, finally gave its securities commissioner, Fred Joseph, the power to issue cease-and-desist orders against suspected stock-fraud thieves.

Joseph and Herrick K. Lid-stone, chairman of the Colorado Securities Board and a law partner with former U.S. Attorney Mike Norton, wrote a paper outlining the new authority that was published in the September Colorado Lawyer, a publication of the Colorado Bar Association.

In it they said that three quarters of the 50 states in the nation already had the power to stop stock scams as quickly as they were discovered, but Colorado couldn't. Instead, an audit of cases that went through Joseph's office in 1999 and 2000 indicated the average time it took to get a civil court to block a scam was 19 months. It took an average 37 months to act on a criminal investigation.

In one of those cases, investors gave the Colorado-based scammers $3.2 million over the 20 months between the time the scheme was discovered and the date when state authorities could order its operators to stop. In Pennsylvania, authorities issued a cease-and-desist order within a month after discovering the fraud.

Joseph says he doesn't expect a fraud case to develop that will require a cease-and-desist order for perhaps six months -- the law went into effect July 1.

But he has no doubt he'll be seeking one. Enough securities law violations still are committed in Colorado to make a case inevitable, he said.
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Title Annotation:securities regulators gain cease-and-desist powers against securities fraud
Author:SCHWAB, ROBERT
Publication:ColoradoBiz
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U8CO
Date:Oct 1, 2001
Words:300
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