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Cease-and-desist issued for alleged real estate investment scheme

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The Missouri Secretary of State's office today issued a cease-and-desist order against two southwest Missouri men for an alleged real estate investment scheme that has ties to similarly embattled Greenleaf Cos. LLC.

The order is against Morris A. Bird Sr. and M. Allen Bird Jr. for alleged securities fraud in a scheme that cost investors in four states more than $1.7 million, according to a news release.

Through their family-operated company, Chaparral I LLC, the father-and-son team sold promissory notes and other investments and promoted annual returns of up to 54 percent.

They then disbursed the funds, including $800,000 to real estate ventures that the Bird family controlled or was affiliated with. Some of the money also went to fund home improvements for one of Allen Bird's relatives, and to other businesses the Bird family controlled, including Springfield-based Turnpoint International I LLC, which was formerly registered with the state as Greenleaf Investments II LLC.

Investor funds also were allegedly sent to Springfield-based Greenleaf, another company hit with a cease-and-desist order for an alleged real estate investment scheme. Greenleaf sold homes to investors and marketed the homes to buyers who signed contracts for deed. The investors were told they would receive the buyers' monthly payments on the homes, plus a $10,000 payment for each home, but Greenleaf stopped sending payments in spring 2008.

In early May, Cristopher Warner of Owasso, Okla., filed a lawsuit against Greenleaf in Greene County Circuit Court that named Allen Bird and Turnpoint International as defendants. According to court records, Warner loaned $750,000 to Greenleaf in October 2007 at an interest rate of 18 percent and another $500,000 to the company in July 2008 at an interest rate of 4.5 percent. Bird and Greenleaf principals Scott Dasal and Eric Gagnepain personally guaranteed the loans, but allegedly failed to repay Warner in monthly installments per investor agreements, court records show.

Springfield-based Mid-Missouri Bank also filed a lawsuit against Allen Bird in March after he defaulted on a $500,000 loan made by the bank in October 2002. The bank is seeking possession of real estate, farm supplies and livestock used as collateral for the loan, records show. The suit is pending in Greene County Circuit Court.

Greenleaf officials were scheduled to argue against civil penalties earlier this month, but they have withdrawn their request for a hearing, according to the release. The company now faces civil penalties and additional charges.

Morris Bird and Allen Bird are charged with not being properly registered with the securities division and failing to disclose risks and other important information about the investments. They also are accused of not properly registering their investment offerings.

The Birds and Chaparral I have 30 days to respond to the order and request a hearing.[[In-content Ad]]This story has been corrected. It originally misspelled Cristopher Warner's name.

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