Defendants connected to professional golf tour permanently barred from securities industry in Colorado, ordered to pay restitution

DENVER — Colorado Securities Commissioner Gerald Rome has announced today that the Denver District Court has entered injunctions against the National Professional Golf Tour, LLC and controller Lawrence Lunsford as well as C.H.A.M.P. Financial Group, Inc. and sales representative Brian Pebley, enjoining them from further violations of securities law. The orders also permanently bar Pebley and C.H.A.M.P from the securities industry in Colorado, and requires them to pay restitution in the amount of $30,000 by the end of 2017.

The court orders resulted from a complaint made by the Commissioner against the defendants in November of 2016 in which he alleged that the defendants had violated the Colorado Securities Act through the unlicensed solicitation and sale of investments for a professional golf tour. The Defendants agreed to the entry of the orders.

According to the Division of Securities, part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), NPGT was formed in 2009 by Lunsford with the intention to produce professional golf events with a network of paying members. In order to qualify as a golf tour, NPGT needed to raise at least $250,000 as start-up money. Lunsford retained Pebley’s company, C.H.A.M.P, to raise the funds.

In raising around $2.1 million in funds from investors, Pebley acted as an unlicensed sales representative for a company that was required to hold a license under the Colorado Securities Act.

At no time during the pursuit of these transactions was C.H.A.M.P a licensed broker-dealer firm with the Division of Securities.

“Securities licensing is an important regulation for retail investors who are routinely committing a large amount of money to investments which they trust and believe will be lucrative,” commented Rome. “Unfortunately, if the salesperson and company selling these investments are not properly registered, there is no way to ensure that these funds are being used in the proper manner. That’s why it’s so important to research the company, salesperson, and offering before entering into any type of securities transaction.”

Should C.H.A.M.P and Pebley fail to pay the $30,000 within the specified time period, the court order stipulates that they will then be jointly responsible for the full $2.1 million in restitution to investors.