Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft thinks a company offering lucrative investments should be penalized for defrauding a Missouri investor.

A statement Wednesday from Ashcroft’s office said an elderly Springfield resident invested $300 after being contacted through Facebook by an alleged agent of Trading Epic in November. The agent claimed the investment could grow to $4,000 within one week. The investor’s Trading Epic account showed a value of $16,700 by December 12th, but the investor was unable to withdraw any funds, even after paying a $1,900 withdrawal fee. The company then demanded another fee of more than $1,700 to pay taxes on the profits before the investor’s funds would be released.

The Secretary of State’s Investor Protection and Securities Division is seeking an order from its commissioner directing Trading Epic to pay restitution plus interest, civil penalties and investigation costs totaling more than $145,000.

Ashcroft’s office also claims Trading Epic’s website falsely claims that it is registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and lists an incomplete New York City address. The office notes that the company’s website does not disclose fees or commissions, or its principal owners.

The company’s website further claims to be regulated by the International Financial Services Commission (IFSC) of Belize.  The IFSC issued a statement in August saying Greener Forex, the previous name of Trading Epic, was not authorized to provide international financial services in Belize.  It advised members of the public who engage in business transactions with the company that they do so at their own risk.

The Secretary of State Investor Protection and Securities Division Commissioner, David Minnick, said social media is increasingly being used to offer likely dishonest investment opportunities.

“Be aware that solicitors use Facebook and other social media as a new ‘cold-call’ technique to invite users into potentially fraudulent investments,” Minnick said. “They persuade investors by promising guaranteed income with little to no risk. If an investment seems too good to be true, please contact our office.”

The Investor Protection and Securities Division has ordered Trading Epic to prove why it shouldn’t have to pay restitution, civil penalties, and costs for allegedly defrauding the Missouri investor.

The Better Business Bureau has received one complaint claiming Trading Epic is “a scam company that took my money under false pretense claiming that it was an investment.”  The complaint from September of last year said an account manager with the company had “gone awol.”

The Trading Epic website offers investments through Forex, which is a decentralized global market where all world currencies are traded, and through “binary options”, which are described as limited-risk contracts based on a simple yes/no question about the market’s price action.  The Bitcoin logo is prominently featured on the company’s website.