Aurora investment adviser raising funds for marijuana business admits to securities fraud, receives sanction by Commissioner

DENVER — Colorado Securities Commissioner Gerald Rome signed a cease and desist order today after Charles Stivers admitted to violating the Colorado Securities Act through the pursuit of investments in his company, Aim High Holdings, LLC, that is related to the Colorado marijuana industry.

The agreement and order were a result of a Division of Securities, part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), investigation into alleged fraudulent activity conducted by Stivers between September 2015 and July 2017. According to the Division, Stivers first crossed legal barriers when he failed to disclose the sale of $50,000 of equity in a company he started, Garden Financial, LLC to his former employer, the broker-dealer firm Innovation Partners LLC, while he was working there as a registered sales representative. After leaving this company, the Respondent allowed his license as a registered representative to expire.

With his next employer, Foundations Investment Advisors, LLC, where he worked as an investment adviser representative, Stivers began soliciting individuals to invest in another of his companies, AIM High Holdings. These investments were not registered, nor exempt from registration with the Division, and Stivers, though no longer licensed to sell securities, earned commissions for these sales, further violating provisions of the Colorado Securities Act. Filings required by the Division in regard to the Aim High Holdings securities and his own involvement with the company were either neglected or, when filed, contained inaccurate information. Within a year, Stivers recruited nine Colorado investors to hand over $570,000, but in doing so he failed to disclose a number of materials facts and made misrepresentations as to the offer and sale of the AIM High Holdings securities.

In a stipulation for the cease and desist order signed on June 21, the Respondent admitted to violating the anti-fraud provisions of the Colorado Securities Act when he failed to disclose facts and made misrepresentations to investors in Aim High Holdings. By doing so, Stivers now qualifies as a “Bad Actor,” and is disqualified from issuing, managing, partnering in, or promoting private placement offerings for the next ten years.

The Respondent neither admitted to nor denied the remaining allegations by the Division.