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Monday, April 22, 2024 | Back issues
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SEC Says Infomercial Hucksters Push A Con

ALEXANDRIA, VA. (CN) - Two "infomercial personalities" bilked older Americans of millions of dollars in a get-rich-quick scheme touted on TV and at "Teach Me To Trade" workshops nationwide, the SEC says in a federal lawsuit. Linda Woolf and David Gengler conned investors into paying up to $40,000, says the SEC, by lying about their success with the system - which neither of them actually had ever used. SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said the pair "preyed on the elderly" and were "robbing victims blind." more

In announcing the lawsuit, Cox said, "The allegations depict a cold-hearted scheme that preyed on the elderly, the desperate, and even the unemployed by promising financial security while instead robbing victims blind." Cox said the defendants "would masquerade as successful traders on TV while prowling the country for victims."

The defendants, including Hands On Capital Inc. and Lashaico Inc., made false and misleading statements in hawking "personal mentoring," software and classes ranging from $11,000 to $40,000, the complaint states. Woolf and Gengler targeted the elderly in their TV spots, and Gengler urged retirees to borrow against their retirement accounts to follow his scheme, the SEC says. They falsely claimed a "96.5 percent success rate" for students who followed their plans, which involved options trading and short-term swing trades.

The SEC says that Woolf and Gengler are failed traders; that Woolf never declared a profit on trades in her federal tax returns and that Gengler typically declared losses, or no profits. But it says Woolf made $4 million selling Teach Me To Trade packages, and Gengler made $2.25 from it.

The U.S. Attorney's Office here said Tuesday that it also has indicted Woolf and Gengler.

Teach Me To Trade has scheduled two workshops today at the Hilton Hotel Tysons Corner in McLean, Va., and two more on Thursday at the Marriott in Greenbelt, Md., the SEC said.

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