The Securities and Exchange Commission charged three-time recidivist Steven J. Muehler with operating an unregistered broker-dealer, facilitating an unregistered securities offering, and defrauding small businesses, while promising to help them raise money from investors. Three companies under Muehler’s control, Muehler’s wife, Claudia M. Muehler, and his associate, Koorosh “Danny” Rahimi, were also charged. Because the scheme is ongoing, the SEC is also seeking a preliminary injunction to stop Muehler’s ongoing violations of the securities laws, pending trial of the action.
According to the complaint, Muehler’s companies are not registered as broker-dealers. But since at least November 2015, Muehler and his companies have nonetheless agreed to provide broker-dealers services to more than 20 small businesses, including identifying and soliciting investors and utilizing a purportedly proprietary online securities exchange to help raise funds from investors. In return, Muehler and his companies received fees, the right to a percentage of any funds raised from investors, and the right to an equity stake in each small business customer.
The SEC also alleges that in offering broker-dealer services, Muehler and his companies made numerous fraudulent claims to potential customers, including that Muehler and his companies had $50 million on-hand to invest in their customers’ securities, that they had previously helped customers raise millions of dollars, and that their proprietary online exchange was registered with the SEC. They also concealed that Muehler is subject to a Commission cease-and-desist order and has been sanctioned by California and Minnesota securities regulators.
The SEC’s complaint alleges that Claudia Muehler and Danny Rahimi helped Muehler carry out this scheme.
The complaint also seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement plus interest, and penalties.
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Please remember, it does not matter who or what, just make sure you search the online database, and make sure your broker name appears in it (if things go wrong, it may protect you).