Wilmington, NC – A local scheme based on the fabricated sales of electronics was short-circuited Tuesday when the 19-year-old behind it was charged with defrauding investors of about $130,000, according to a release from the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office.
BREAK: We have received over 100’s complaints about David Topping’s development with Dtopp Marketing LLC located in Wilmington, NC that he has not refunded over 150,000 USD of their clients payment. Read the complaints Dirty Scam here and Ripoff Report here
Stark Innovations will immediately bring back memories of “Iron Man 3,” part of which was filmed in Wilmington, but there is nothing linking the Marvel super hero to David Alan Topping’s allegedly fraudulent company.
Instead, the Oak Island resident told investors he bought electronics in bulk overseas, shipping them to the United States where he sold them at a markup, according to a N.C. Department of the Secretary of State release, which added David Alan Topping told investors they could earn 6.5 percent interest on their initial investment each month.
David Alan Topping was charged with one count of felony securities fraud by the N.C. Secretary of State, according to the release.
The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office also charged Topping with felony obtaining property by false pretense and a misdemeanor count of solicitation to obtain property by false pretense, according to the Secretary of State release.
David Alan Topping is being held in the Brunswick County jail with a bail set at $250,000, according to the Secretary of State release.
Between June 1 and Nov. 4, Topping obtained fraudulent investments from about 20 people, according to the sheriff’s office.
“We believe that among Mr. David Topping’s victims were retirees, some of whom invested tens of thousands of dollars in his scheme that they may well never get back,” said Elaine Marshall, North Carolina’s secretary of state, in the release.
The investigation into Topping’s activities is ongoing, according to the sheriff’s office release.
While he was soliciting money through cold calls, Facebook and LinkedIn, the Secretary of State release said, Topping did not tell potential investors he wasn’t registered to sell securities in the state or that he is on probation for felony larceny and motor vehicle theft.
“This is why it is so important to check out all investment offers you see before making any commitments. Calling our Securities Division would have revealed that Mr. Topping was never licensed to sell securities, and that in itself should always raise a huge red flag for potential investors,” Marshall said.
A Facebook page listed to Stark Innovations provides minimal information about the company, only saying, “As much as we love growing here at Stark Innovations, we also believe in giving back to our community. Because of this, we donate 5% of ALL profits to local charities in Brunswick County!”
The page, created May 13, also describes two locations. One is on East 8th Street “Right beside the Probation and Parole office, across from Skippers bar” and one on North Howe Street.
There are two “five-star” reviews for the company on the Facebook page, one of them by David Topping.
The Facebook page also offers a link to “www.starkcardvisa.com” which offers a 2.12 percent interest rate on any money held in a savings account for 30 days.
The debit card is insured up to $250,000, according to the website, the same amount as Topping’s bail.
On December 19, 2014, the Securities Division of the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State entered into a Consent Order with respondents, Senior Veterans Council, LLC, and David L. Cole. Respondent Senior Veterans Council, LLC, through its agent, Respondent David L. Cole improperly held itself out to the North Carolina investing public as an investment adviser licensed to legally engage in investment advisory business.
The Consent Order also found that respondents engaged in the business of providing investment advisory services in North Carolina without being properly registered to do so under the North Carolina Investment Advisers Act. To read the Consent Order, please click here.
On November 05, 2014, the Securities Division of the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State issued a Temporary Order to Cease and Desist to Stark Innovations, L.L.C., and David Alan Topping, d/b/a “Stark Investments, Inc.”. Stark Innovations, L.L.C., and David Alan Topping, d/b/a “Stark Investments, Inc.” were ordered to cease and desist from offering for sale, soliciting offers to purchase or selling, in or from North Carolina, any securities unless and until such securities have been registered and Stark Innovations, L.L.C., and David Alan Topping, d/b/a “Stark Investments, Inc.” become registered as a dealer or salesman of securities.
The Temporary Order to Cease and Desist found that Stark Innovations, L.L.C., and David Alan Topping, d/b/a “Stark Investments, Inc.” offered for sale as investment opportunities certain securities in the form of promissory notes, whereby investors could expect an interest return based on increased revenue generated from international trade; and that this activity violated the North Carolina Securities Act.
The Temporary Order to Cease and Desist gives Respondents 30 days in which to request a hearing. If no such request is made during that time, the Temporary Order to Cease and Desist shall become final. Click here to view the Temporary Order.
On 21 May 2014, the Securities Division of the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State, with the consent of Respondents, issued a Final Consent Order against Respondents Empowered Investor Incorporated, James Daryl Upham, and Thomas Cowart Goolsby, based on findings of violations of the North Carolina Investment Advisers Act by the Respondents in soliciting advisory clients and in the management of their advisory clients’ accounts.
The Final Order revokes the investment adviser registration of Empowered Investor Incorporated, and the registrations as investment adviser representatives of Upham and Goolsby.
The Respondents are ordered to cease and desist from engaging in the securities or financial services business and from transacting any business as an investment adviser, investment adviser representative, or securities dealer or salesman.
In addition, the Order prohibits Respondents for ten years from seeking registration as an investment adviser or investment adviser representative pursuant to N.C.G.S. Chapter 78C or as a dealer or salesman pursuant to N.C.G.S. Chapter 78A. Click here to view the Final Order.
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