The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that it has charged Stephen B. Blankenship, a resident of New Fairfield, Connecticut, and Deer Hill Financial Group, LLC, a Connecticut limited liability company under Blankenship’s control, with a scheme to defraud investors. The Commission’s Complaint alleges that, from at least 2002 through November 2011, Blankenship misappropriated at least $600,000 from at least 12 brokerage customers by falsely representing that he would invest their funds in securities through defendant Deer Hill.
The SEC alleges that until November 2011, Blankenship was a registered representative of Vanderbilt Securities, LLC, a registered broker-dealer based in Melville, New York. According to the complaint, Blankenship lied to his brokerage customers and in many instances, lured customers to withdraw money from their brokerage accounts with promises that they could obtain a greater rate of return by investing through Deer Hill. The complaint alleges that Blankenship assured his customers that he would invest their money in established securities such as publicly traded mutual funds. When customers requested account statements, Blankenship provided the customers with fictitious statements from Deer Hill that falsely represented that Blankenship had invested their money in a variety of investments.
According to the SEC’s Complaint, Blankenship never invested the customers’ money. Instead, Blankenship used the customers’ money for personal expenses, business expenses and to make Ponzi-like payments to other customers who requested a return of all or part of their investment.