Final Judgments Entered against Connecticut-Based Investment Adviser and His Firm Charged with Stealing Investor Funds

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) recently announced that on May 16, 2013, the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut entered final judgments by consent in a previously filed enforcement action against Stephen B. Blankenship and his investment advisory firm, Deer Hill Financial Group, LLC. The judgments enjoin Blankenship and Deer Hill from future violations of the federal securities laws.

On September 13, 2012, the Commission filed an enforcement action charging Blankenship, then a resident of New Fairfield, Connecticut, and Deer Hill Financial Group, LLC, a Connecticut limited liability company under Blankenship’s control, with a scheme to defraud investors. The Commission’s Complaint alleged that, from at least 2002 through November 2011, Blankenship misappropriated at least $600,000 from at least 12 brokerage customers. The Court’s judgment enjoins Blankenship and Deer Hill from future violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder and Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933. The judgment also enjoins the defendants from future violations of Sections 206(1) and 206(2) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act.

Based on the same misconduct, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut charged Blankenship with criminal violations. On December 5, 2012, the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut sentenced Blankenship to forty-one months imprisonment and ordered him to pay a fine of $7,500 and restitution in the amount of $607,516.81.

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