Elderly Woman Says She Was Duped

     TAMPA (CN) – An 80-year-old woman says her life’s savings were wiped out when CSO Industries and its CEO Charles Owens III talked her into putting $220,000 into his company.

     Shirley Broderick claims Owens talked her into making a “safe, no risk investment” and guaranteed her principal, and a predictable rate of return, if she invested with CSO Industries.
     She says she invested $100,000 in February 2008, and suffered early termination penalties when she liquidated an annuity to do so.
     Later that month, she says, she “invested” another $20,000 with CSO – the total of her savings account.
     In June 2008, she says, Owens advised her to take out a second mortgage of $100,000 on her home, “because the equity in her home would not earn money, whereas another investment contract with CFO would provide her with a ‘safe,’ no risk investment, in which CSO guaranteed the principal …” She says she threw another $100,000 into CSO that month.
     Broderick says she has received about $32,000 in disbursements, then in September 2008, CSO Industries stopped payments and wrote to investors that “we believe that it is more prudent to preserve capital then to lose capital” and “protect your investment even if it means we can’t provide a disbursement from time to time like the last couple weeks.”
     Broderick says she asked for her principal to be returned in January this year. She says Owens replied: “Despite our best efforts, we are not able to return principal at this time. We are facing terrible times financially as a country, and it is affecting almost everyone. We are doing everything we can to return your funds as quickly as possible. Sometime within the next year we should be back on track and have the funds.”
     Broderick demands rescission and damages for fraud, elder abuse, sale of unregistered securities, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent inducement and other charges. She is represented in Hillsborough County Court by Joel Ewusiak with Forizs & Dogali.

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