SEC Alleges Son and Father-In-Law Touted Faith to Target Church Members in $20 Million Offering Fraud

Brett M. Bartlett, his father-in-law Scott A. Miller, and their companies have been charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for engaging in fraudulent securities offerings that raised over $20.5 million, which was misused for personal expenses.

The SEC’s complaint alleges that Bartlett and Miller raised funds from more than 1,000 investors nationwide by selling promissory notes, stock, and fraudulent gold contracts through their companies. Bartlett invoked his Christian faith to win investor trust and misled investors by making more than $11 million in Ponzi-like payments, bouncing $21 million in bad checks due to insufficient funds, and misappropriating over $1.2 million for personal use. The SEC has filed a complaint in federal court in the Central District of California, charging the defendants with violating antifraud and registration provisions of the Securities Act.

The SEC is seeking permanent injunctions, disgorgement, civil penalties, and officer and director bars. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois has also announced criminal charges against Bartlett, 7Me, and Dynasty Toys. An Investor Alert has been issued with tips on how investors can avoid becoming victims of affinity fraud. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Springfield Field Office, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General in conducting the investigation.