Jul 19

Texas Securities Commissioner John Morgan on July 18 entered an Emergency Cease and Desist Order against Bruce A. Craig, an Austin "private money lender" who is touting his real estate-based investments as no-risk products that will "safely and securely yield 15-20 times what you can get in interest from a bank."

Craig is the registered agent of Leap Frog Capital LP, Affordable Leasing and Finance LP, and he is the managing member of Your Dollar Builder LLC. All the companies are based in Austin. Craig is offering investments in a limited partnership that allegedly makes money by acquiring real estate loans. Craig is also offering investments in the financing of loans to homeowners who need to purchase equipment such as air conditioning systems.

According to the Emergency Order, Craig portrays himself as an experienced, successful entrepreneur who has managed a "multimillion dollar portfolio of discount real estate secured mortgages on a nationwide basis." In offering investments for sale, however, he failed to disclose a number of civil lawsuits and judgments against him, as well as a 2010 Bankruptcy Court filing in which he claimed liabilities of more than $2.5 million.

Craig has been sued nine times in civil courts in Texas since 2003; the suits involve claims of deceptive business practices and debt. Plaintiffs in four of the suits against Craig have secured judgments totaling $493,610.

Given Craig's legal history, the Emergency Order found that Craig and his companies are "engaging in fraud in connection with the offer for sale of securities" and making statements that are "materially misleading or otherwise likely to deceive the public."

In his inflated marketing claims, Craig stressed to potential investors that unlike the stock market, "your principal is never at risk," and that there is "No Volatility!" in the investment.

Craig has offered investments though a website, online video, magazines, and sales seminars directed at senior citizens and retirees. In the July issue of SunRays, the official magazine of Sun City, Craig advertised a "BBQ with Bruce" to be held on July 25. Craig also hosted a seminar June 27 at Sun City, which is a retirement community in Georgetown, north of Austin.