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Carnahan secures $850K for scammed investors

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Secretary of State Robin Carnahan has reached an agreement with two southwest Missouri men to return more than $850,000 garnered from selling unregistered securities. The scheme has ties to the recent shutdown of Springfield-based Greenleaf Cos. LLC.

According to the agreement, father and son Morris Allen Bird Sr. and Morris Allen Bird Jr. - through two companies organized by the Bird family, Springfield-based Turnpoint International I LLC and Lockwood-based Chaparral I LLC - violated Missouri security laws by selling the unregistered securities. When making the sales, they promised annual returns of more than 50 percent.

The Birds also failed to provide promissory notes for some of the investors, did not tell the investors how the money would be used and never gave investors financial background information on the companies, according to the release.

Through the scheme, the Birds sold the unregistered securities to nine investors in Missouri, Arkansas, Indiana and Oklahoma, according to the agreement.

Included among the investors was a Lockwood couple in their 80s and a 93-year-old Missouri resident, according to the release.

The money invested was used by the Birds to fund real estate ventures that the family controlled or was affiliated with, according to Springfield Business Journal archives

Turnpoint International I was formerly known as Greenleaf Investments II LLC. The Birds were financially involved with Greenleaf Investments I LLC and Park Estates Homes LLC, both organized by Eric Gagnepain and Scott Dasal, the principals behind Greenleaf Cos., which was recently barred from selling or renting homes in Missouri.

The Birds were ordered to pay the $850,000 in monthly payments during the next several years to the Missouri Investor Restitution Fund, which will distribute the funds to the investors. If the Birds do not comply with the payment plan, all of the payments will immediately become due, and they will incur more than $85,000 in penalties and costs, the release said.

“Southwest Missouri has unfortunately seen more than its share of investment schemes in recent years,” Carnahan said in the release. “Before turning over their hard-earned savings, Missourians should call my Investor Protection Hotline to make sure their brokers and investments are registered with my office.”

The hotline is (800) 721-7996. The secretary of state's office also offers a Web site to help protect investors.
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