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Two Virginia Insurance Agents Face Charges Over Promissory Notes

Two Virginia insurance agents – Julius Everett “Bud” Johnson and Walter Ray Reinhardt – face accusations by the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) of misleading investors regarding $1.7 million in sales of promissory notes.

Last fall, the SCC ordered Johnson, Reinhardt and their companies to stop selling the notes for 120 days, alleging that they were illegal securities because neither the notes nor the sellers were registered with the state of Virginia. As for investors – many of whom were reportedly told that their money was guaranteed – they want answers.

“All I got was a runaround,” said James Kelley, a Chesterfield County, Virginia, man who invested $25,000 that was supposed to be repaid in January but wasn’t, according to a Feb. 3 article in the Richmond Times Dispatch.

Kelley said he went to speak with Johnson at his office, where he was told Johnson was out. When Kelley waited in the parking lot, however, he says he saw Johnson leave a few minutes later out of a back entrance of the building.

Gerald Crant is another investor who placed $100,000 with Johnson. He claims Johnson told him the promissory notes were insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Now he’s worried because he hasn’t received his January interest payment.

According to the Times Dispatch article, Kelley says that Johnson told him he would get more information in the coming weeks, while Crant says he received a letter from Johnson’s lawyer stating that the slow economy was the reason he had to stop making interest payments.

The SCC, which regulates securities transactions in the state of Virginia, lists a litany of allegations against both Johnson and Reinhardt and the 12 companies they operate, including:

· Making material misrepresentations and material omissions;

· Failing to provide financial disclosures;

· Failing to provide investment-risk disclosures;

· Failing to provide a litigation or compliance disciplinary disclosure;

· Failing to disclose that the securities offered were not registered; and

· Falsely stating that the securities were exempt from registration.

In addition, the SCC’s records accuse Johnson and his companies of operating as a fraud. The allegations include issuing corporate promissory notes for one issuer then transferring the money to another entity and using new investors’ money to pay interest to previous investors – something typically associated with a Ponzi scheme.

In September 2009, SCC records show that Johnson and Reinhardt stated they had sold $1.7 million of notes to 38 Virginians, and that the notes were private offerings and complied with federal regulations. A senior investigator with the SCC says he found documents showing Johnson guaranteed $3.2 million of the companies’ debt, while Johnson declared he did not know the outstanding balance on the notes.

The companies that the SCC cites as those operated by Johnson are: Benefit Contract Administrators, MHC Linen Service LLC, River City Cleaners LLC, Roberts Awning Restoration and Renewal LLC (formerly known as Roberts Awning LLC).

Other defendants in the case include Benefit Contract Administrators LLC, Mid Atlantic Insurance Agencies, LivingWell Healthcare of Virginia LLC, Everett Awnings doing business as Roberts Awnings, and FIC Financial Group.

Reinhardt operates three businesses: First Fidelity Financial of Richmond LLC, Commonwealth Assurity LLC and Capital Investor Group.

Reinhardt is accused of selling illegal securities between 2005 and now. He also is accused of operating as the broker-dealer in offerings and selling the illegal promissory notes of Benefit Contract Administrators, MHC Linen Service, River City Cleaners, Mid Atlantic Insurance Agencies, LivingWell Healthcare of Virginia, Roberts Awning Restoration and Renewal and FIC Financial Group.

As an aside, if the securities in the Johnson and Reinhardt case had been registered, investors might have learned some important information about the people and companies behind their investments. Specifically, Reinhardt had previously been barred twice from selling securities in North Carolina.

If you suffered investment losses in connection to either Julius Everett Johnson or Walter Ray Reinhardt, contact us to tell your story.

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