- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 12, 2008

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Two self-proclaimed “experts” at trading stocks who used infomercials and hotel seminars to tout their abilities have been indicted on federal fraud charges.

Linda Woolf, 48, of Sandy, Utah, and David Gengler, 34, of Draper, Utah, passed themselves off as successful investors and persuaded consumers to pay anywhere from $3,000 to $40,000 to learn the “Teach Me to Trade” stock-picking system, according to an indictment in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.

Prosecutors say Ms. Woolf and Mr. Gengler lied or omitted pertinent information about their profits in the stock market and their annual gains and losses during presentations given at hotel seminars across the country. One of Teach Me to Trade’s supposed stock-trading experts was actually recruited by Ms. Woolf from a nail salon, according to the indictment.

Ms. Woolf and Mr. Gengler also were featured in Teach Me to Trade infomercials. In one, Mr. Gengler explains how he doubled a $10,000 investment in one week as the studio audience oohs and aahs.

“Luck has absolutely nothing to do with this,” Mr. Gengler tells the audience. “This is simply a system. If you can follow the rules … you can find your financial future.”

Ms. Woolf and Mr. Gengler worked as independent contractors, according to the indictment, and received sales commissions of 10 percent to 15 percent from Teach Me to Trade, which is a part of the Whitney Information Network, a publicly traded company based in Cape Coral, Fla.

Whitney itself is not charged, though the indictment says Ms. Woolf and Mr. Gengler relied on the company’s “fraudulent marketing efforts” to entice the public to their seminars.

The charges against Ms. Woolf and Mr. Gengler, which include wire fraud and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, carry maximum penalties of 30 years in prison. The Securities and Exchange Commission also has filed civil fraud charges against them.

Whitney estimates about 28 percent of the people who attend its various free introductory workshops — which include topics on real estate investing and managing cash flow — end up purchasing some type of training course.

At a Teach Me to Trade seminar yesterday at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, two dozen people of all ages listened to a presentation urging them to spend $200 to attend a more intensive, three-day session. Several stayed even after hearing about about the indictment.

A few walked out in the middle of the presentation.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide