The Oklahoma Department of Securities will investigate the closed brokerage firm of Fitzgerald, DeArman & Roberts Inc., officials said last week.
Administrator Susan Bryant said the investigation will focus on complaints about sales tactics used by the firm, which was closed Tuesday at the request of the federal Securities and Exchange Commission.Bryant also said her office will inquire about what happened to about $3.6 million raised by FDR through a stock offering last fall.
The administrator said examiners estimate the $3.6 million was raised for FDR through the offering of its corporate stock in November. FDR stock was traded on over-the-counter markets.
On Tuesday, auditors from the National Association of Securities Dealers and other regulators found the firm to be insolvent by about $1.5 million.
Bryant said her office will investigate how the $3.6 million was spent by the firm.
"It certainly seems to be something we prudently should be looking at," she said.
The firm, with 20 offices in 10 states, including Utah, was turned over to a federal court trustee Tuesday.
Bryant said the department received several complaints before and after the closing from Oklahoma investors who had bought stock from FDR in a handful of penny-stock companies.
The complaints alleged FDR brokers Robert T. Adams Jr. and Robert D. Bell violated Oklahoma securities laws during their pitch for and sales of stock in three companies, according to an order issued Thursday by the state agency.
The companies were Goldcor Inc., a Costa Rican gold-mining operation; Noble Metal Recovery Ltd.; and Knightsbridge Marketing Ventures Inc.
In three U.S. District Court lawsuits filed in Tulsa, former FDR customers accuse the firm and its brokers of manipulating the companies' stock prices and of lying to investors about the companies' financial con-dition.
The company had a work force of about 450 and handled about 40,000 accounts and contracts with 30 brokers.
Fred Carlisle, chief executive officer of FDR, said last week the company was badly hurt by the Oct. 19 stock market crash.