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Fraud claim filed after Louisiana fund manager's suspension

The earlier a criminal defense attorney enters a case, the more positive a legal outcome may be for a Baton Rouge defendant. White collar crime defendants who wait to be charged may lose an opportunity to avoid charges. Misunderstandings by the government may be straightened out before any indictment occurs.

The National Futures Association accused a Metairie businessman of fraud. Allegations over false claims and misuse of investors' money led to a February agreement. The financial manager's two companies were barred from ever doing business in the futures market again, while the executive was prohibited from futures trading for seven years.

A civil lawsuit was filed last month against the suspended financial manager for similar claims. The plaintiff stated that he invested $65,000 in publicly-traded Treaty Energy Corp. based on the defendant's word that the oil well investment would produce $700,000 in returns within a decade. The deal was signed by the company's chief executive officer, who was also named in the lawsuit.

The defendant was a director and the chief operating officer at Treaty Energy, a position he resigned in March. The investor claims he also spent $15,000 to buy over 810,000 Treaty Energy shares. As part of that deal, the plaintiff agreed not to sell the shares for at least one year.

The total return on the oil well investment was $700, a far cry from the promise of up to $4,000 a month. The Treaty Energy shares had so little value by the time the investor's year was up that the shares were impossible to sell. The fund manager's suspension prompted the plaintiff to question whether he had been misled.

A government investigation into business practices is enough to send shivers down any Baton Rouge executive's spine. Preparation of a white collar crime defense should not wait until an indictment. Legal assistance is needed the moment any contact is initiated by a government agent or agency.

Source: The Times-Picayune, "Former Metairie futures fund manager accused of fraud in energy investments" Katherine Sayre, May. 29, 2014

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