FORT MYERS, Fla.- A joint investigation by the Lee County Sheriff's Office Economic Crimes Unit and State Office of Financial Regulation has culminated in the arrest of a Ft. Myers man posing as a registered investment dealer.
Michael T. Burns, 43, of 1768 Coronado Road, is charged with defrauding two victims out of nearly $100,000 by promising them 10 percent to 12 percent rates of return for investing in a vending machine company.
The investigation shows Burns acted as an investment dealer, and between May 2009 and October 2009, convinced the victims to write him checks totaling $95,000. Burns promised the victims not only a great rate of return, but also that they would pay less income tax at the end of the year.
The scheme began to crumble in early 2011 when one of the victims needed to repair the roof on her mobile home and asked Burns if she could get any money back from her investment. Burns told the victim "that's not the way it works." The victim says she never contacted Burns again and never received any documents or any of her money back.
The investigation also shows Burns was not a registered investment dealer at the time he solicited money from the victims.
Burns is charged with Scheme to Defraud and eight counts of Selling Securities without Dealer Registration.