SEC goes after fugitive investment fraudster – radio “star” Christopher Burns
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken legal action against radio “star” Christopher Burns, who has defrauded multiple clients and has been a fugitive for nearly two months already.
The SEC’s Complaint, filed with the Georgia Northern District Court on November 12, 2020, and seen by FX News Group, brings fraud charges against Burns. The SEC alleges that Burns , an Atlanta-based investment adviser representative, committed the fraud along with several entities under his control, including Investus Advisers LLC d/b/a Dynamic Money LLC, Investus Financial LLC, and Peer Connect LLC.
More specifically, from at least February 2017 to September 2020, Burns and the other defendants offered and sold approximately $10 million in promissory notes to dozens of investors in Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida. Many of these investors were clients of Investus Advisers, an advisory firm that Burns founded and owns.
Burns advised his clients and others on an investment opportunity that he claimed was part of a peer-to-peer lending program. He falsely told investors that the program entailed businesses in need of capital that wanted to borrow money from them. In return, Burns falsely told investors that the businesses would make monthly payments to them that included a portion of the principal plus a fixed amount of interest or the businesses would pay them a lump sum when the promissory notes matured.
Burns’ statements regarding the investment were false and, in reality, the peer-to-peer lending program was a sham. Contrary to Burns’ statements to investors, he spent the money he raised to fund his lifestyle, which included a million-dollar lake house, a boat, and cars; pay business expenses for his advisory firm; repay earlier investors; and elevate his status as an investment adviser by purchasing tens of thousands of dollars of airtime for his local radio show.
Burns started his own radio show that aired on Sundays called The Chris Burns Show. As described on his website:
“The Chris Burns Show, powered by Dynamic Money, unpacks how the week’s headlines practically impact your life, wallet, and future. Chris records the show live in Atlanta every Sunday to help you become excited about your money, your dreams, and understand how real headlines have a real impact on your life.”
In addition to his radio show, Burns also periodically appeared on television where he presented himself as an experienced and well-informed investment professional.
Burns has been missing since September 24, 2020, a day on which he transferred more than $165,000 in investor funds to one of his personal checking accounts. At the time of his disappearance, Burns knew that the SEC had recently begun investigating his and the other defendants’ conduct.
The SEC alleges that the defendants violated Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”) [15 U.S.C. § 77a(a)]; Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5 thereunder [15 U.S.C. § 78j(b) and 17 C.F.R. § 240.10b-5]; and Sections 206(1) and 206(2) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Advisers Act”) [15 U.S.C. § 80b-6].
Meredith Burns is named as a Relief Defendant. Throughout the time that Burns offered and sold promissory notes, Mrs. Burns was married to Burns. On the day before his disappearance, Burns entered into a divorce agreement with Mrs. Burns that transferred many of their joint assets to her and, the following day, Burns transferred his interest in their home to her by quitclaim deed.
Mrs. Burns – who was not employed during the relevant time period and did not have income independent of her husband – also is in possession of other assets that appear to have been acquired or maintained with investor money, including a boat, cars, and cash in her bank accounts.
The SEC argue that it would not be equitable for Mrs Burns to keep these assets.