Hannibal Courier-Post

Securities Division orders stop to establishing non-existent amusement park

For the Courier-Post
Posted: May. 22, 2019 12:22 pm

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s Securities Division issued a final order to cease and desist against unregistered agents Eugene M. Hagen, Johnathan Plimpton and three companies after they sold unregistered, non-exempt securities to two Missouri investors.

Hagen and Plimpton, working for Florida-based Becker, Jackson & Reed LLC, made unsolicited calls and emails to Missouri residents from Dexter, Missouri, offering an opportunity to invest in the development and construction of an amusement park in San Diego, California. They claimed the land had been purchased and representatives of Alpine Entertainment Inc. were already planning and building the park.

Two Missouri investors bought $100,000 of stock with a promise of a 51 percent return on the investment every year. An investigation showed that at no time was Alpine engaged in developing an amusement park. Bank records show the Missouri investors’ money was deposited in the U.S. then transferred to unknown individuals in Mexico. The Missouri investors have not received a return on their investment or a refund and have been unable to contact the agents since May of 2017.

"Be aware that some internet investment scams are very sophisticated and can appear very professional," Securities Commissioner David M. Minnick said. "Investors should not provide these businesses with credit card numbers, money, other confidential personal or financial information unless they have first verified that they are registered."

Becker, Jackson & Reed LLC, Alpine Family Entertainment Parks 1 LLC and Alpine Entertainment Inc. are also named as respondents in the order.

The division also ordered Hagen, Plimpton and the three companies to pay restitution plus interest, civil penalties and investigation costs totaling more than $300,000.

Ashcroft urges all investors to know the risks. If you have any questions about an investment opportunity or wish to check the background and registration status of a financial adviser, please call the toll-free investor protection hotline at 800-721-7996, or go online to www.missouriprotectsinvestors.com to file a complaint.