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Secretary of State

Securities Division > News Archive  > 2005 Press Releases > For Immediate Release: April 22, 2005 Criminal Charges Filed Against Internet Scam Artist

Contact: AJ Freeney-Ruiz
317-233-8655
Media@sos.in.gov

Indianapolis, IN - Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita today praised the teamwork that led to filing of criminal charges against Stephen Spiker. The investigation, initiated by Rokita's office, has resulted in fifty-one criminal counts filed against Spiker for his part in masterminding a fake investment scheme via the Internet. Spiker is charged with fraud, selling unregistered securities, and selling securities as an unregistered agent- all Class C felonies which are each punishable by up to eight years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

"Crimes by individuals like Mr. Spiker are the the main targets of our efforts to stop white collar crime," Rokita said. "Without the cooperation of our team and local enforcement officials, Spiker's list of victims would have been far larger and he would not currently be sitting in jail awaiting trial."

Spiker is accused of offering and selling securities to various individuals under the mantle of Citigroup Investments, a company which did not exist and was not registered with the Secretary of State's office at the time of the transactions. Over the Internet, Spiker allegedly offered most of his "investors" a rate of return on their investments ranging from $104,600 for each $100 unit purchased to $250,000 for each $18,000 investment. Spiker also allegedly used emails sent from his fictitious wife, claiming he had cancer, to gain sympathy from investors.

Initiated by the Secretary of State's office after receiving a complaint from an investor, the investigation into Spiker's conduct led to the charges being filed by Henry County Prosecuting Attorney Kit Crane's office this week. Crane says that he will personally handle Spiker's case.

"Though there are no alleged victims in Indiana, Spiker is accused of running his operation out of Henry County," Crane said. "I have experience prosecuting murder cases, drug cases, and battery cases. You don't have allegations of securities fraud that happen in Henry County very often, so the assistance of Secretary of State Rokita's office has been invaluable."

"I want to congratulate the Prosecutor's office for pursuing this matter and specifically thank Prosecutor Crane, who only recently returned from serving in Iraq to handle this case," Rokita said. "I also want to thank Mark Mader and Paul Lawson from my office for their hard work on this case. Those seeking to prey upon others and take their hard-earned money are not welcome in Indiana, and they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law."

Rokita reminds Hoosiers there is no such thing as a "completely safe" investment. Investors are encouraged to do their homework and check out investment opportunities by visiting his website, www.sos.IN.gov.