Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

News Release

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Contact Lyn Peters, Director of Communications
PH (360) 902-8731 lpeters@dfi.wa.gov

Michael Stevenson, Director of Securities Division
PH 360.902.8797, mstevenson@dfi.wa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:


Everett Attorney Sentenced For Fraud - DFI Warns Investors To Get A Second Opinion And Investigate Before Investing

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) warns investors to get a second opinion before investing, even if with a “trusted advisor” such as an attorney, to avoid the experience of victims defrauded by Everett attorney Barry Hammer.

On Friday, Oct. 31, 2008 Barry Hammer, 62 , an Everett, Washington attorney was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Seattle to three years in prison, three years of supervised release and 250 hours of community service for Wire Fraud in connection with a fraudulent investment scheme.

From 2002 to 2004, Hammer convinced a number of his law practice clients to invest with him in various pieces of real estate. Hammer misrepresented to investors how he was going to use their money and, in Ponzi scheme fashion, used some of the investors’ money to repay earlier investors.

DFI’s Securities Division issued an administrative Summary Order to Cease and Desist against Hammer in 2005, ordering him to stop the offer and sale of promissory notes to state investors. Later, Securities Division staff assisted in the criminal investigation of Hammer.

Michael Stevenson, Director of the Securities Division urges investors to check out any person offering investment services or investment opportunities prior to signing any agreements. Before making any investment, investors should call 1.877.RING DFI to verify that a company is registered to offer investments and that the persons offering the investment are licensed to do business in the State of Washington or visit www.dfi.wa.gov.

DFI partners with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to provide investor education and information. Additional information about investment protection for consumers of all ages is available at www.saveandinvest.org.

Director Stevenson commends the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI and Assistant United States Attorney Mark Parrent for their successful investigation and prosecution of Mr. Hammer.

A copy of the U.S. Attorney’s press release on Hammer can be found at: http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/waw/press/2008/oct/hammer.html


About DFI
www.dfi.wa.gov ▪ 360.902.8700 ▪ 877.746.4334 ▪ En Espaņol 877.976.4422
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions regulates a variety of financial service providers such as banks, credit unions, mortgage brokers, consumer loan companies, payday lenders, and securities brokers and dealers. The department has won numerous awards for its financial literacy and outreach programs developed to protect consumers from financial fraud. In addition to posting information about licensees and administrative actions, the DFI’s Web site features consumer tips on a variety of financial fraud-related topics.

Securities Division
www.dfi.wa.gov/sd ▪ 360.902.8760
The Division of Securities regulates securities investments, franchises, business opportunities, and off-exchange commodities sold in Washington and the firms and individuals that sell these products or provide investment advice. The Division handles complaints, conducts investigations, and takes appropriate enforcement actions to protect investors and combat fraud.

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