BULLETIN: Florida Office Of Financial Regulation Opens Probe Into PPE-Life; Firm Also Under Investigation In South Carolina Amid Allegations It Sold Unregistered Securities

A company under investigation in South Carolina amid allegations it sold unregistered securities now is under investigation in Florida.

The Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) confirmed the probe into PPE-Life this morning.

“OFR has an open investigation [regarding] PPE-Life and its principals at this time and cannot go into any additional details,” said Flora Beal, an OFR spokeswoman.

OFR enforces banking, securities and financial laws in Florida.

Last month, South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster ordered PPE to “cease and desist” from selling securities and collecting money in the state. The South Carolina Securities Division opened a probe May 14 amid reports the company was holding recruitment meetings in Sumter, S.C.

Attendees at a meeting in a hotel about five miles away from Shaw Air Force Base were told PPE was the marketing arm of an unspecified “international bank.”

When asked to identify the bank, John Barter, a PPE principal, responded that “I am the bank,” authorities said.

South Carolina has had a problem with financial schemes targeted at military personnel and people of faith.

Web records show that recruiting efforts for PPE were not limited to sit-down meetings. Online efforts to recruit members date back at least to January and feature images of a bull and a bear and commentary on celebrated stock trader Warren Buffet.

Buffet is not believed to have any tie to the PPE.

Florida records identify Barter, Walter Martin, Terry Beyer and Janet Palmer as principals of the Ocala-based company. PPE-Life’s corporate registration was filed April 29, at least three months after recruitment efforts began, according to records.

At the same time, a web-based promotion for the firm identified it as “the marketing arm of ppe bank international.”

No such entity appears to have been registered in Florida despite the apparent implementation of a web-based, recruitment-feeder system for PPE-Life in January.

“what does this mean to you?” a classified ad for PPE asked in January. “this means that you can receive a paid position in this ground floor global opportunity for only $66 (one-time) not $599 (one-time). for $66 one- time, you will join a group of experienced entrepreneurs in a simple, forced 2×2, three-phase feeder system that will generate a third phase payout of $1,840. $599 of your $1840 will be used to to pay for your independent associate membership in ppe life.”

Records in Florida show that a financial judgment of $295,785.14 was placed against Barter and Janet Palmer — both principals of PPE — in October 2009, about three months before recruitment efforts for PPE appear to have become active online.

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