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Online trader accused of defrauding Springfield resident

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Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s securities division accused a New York City online trading company of allegedly defrauding a Springfield resident.

The complaint from Ashcroft’s office indicates an alleged agent of Trading Epic, which lists an incomplete address in New York, New York, on its website, used Facebook to solicit an elderly Springfieldian. The resident was not named in a news release.

The resident in November paid $300 to make an investment the agent said would reach $4,000 within one week. The investor was unable to withdraw funds on Dec. 12, when the Trading Epic account showed $16,700 in funds. The investor paid a $1,905 withdrawal fee with no results, and later, Trading Epic demanded $1,711 to pay taxes on the profits before the funds would be released.

Ashcroft’s security division ordered Trading Epic to prove why restitution, civil penalties and costs totaling more than $145,000 should not be assessed against the company, according to the release.

“Be aware that solicitors use Facebook and other social media as a new cold-call technique to invite users into potentially fraudulent investments,” said David Minnick, securities commissioner for the secretary of state’s office, in the release. “They persuade investors by promising guaranteed income with little to no risk. If an investment seems too good to be true, please contact our office.”

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