At least four states are in court to stop a penny stock promoter who is allegedly using Craigslist to find fraud victims nationwide.
Massachusetts regulators joined Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama with a complaint filed today against Mark Baxter. In court documents, regulators say Baxter, also known as Mark Morrow, began running Craigslist notices early in 2018 promising to train respondents and/or invest in winning stocks for them.
The all-caps posts were made in at least 49 states, two countries, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, regulators said. In Massachusetts postings, Baxter offered to walk respondents through setting up a TD Ameritrade account, trade the account for them or teach them how to trade, and split the profits -- all for a $200 fee.
"Beginning in 2019, these postings make repeated reference to recent successes trading on the OTC markets, claiming to have 'just had' an OTC stock which at least doubled in value while they held it," the Massachusetts' complaint said.
Baxter was often careless in his claims, according to court documents. In one case, Baxter referenced a company by a stock ticker symbol that the company had changed eight months previously.
Baxter's last known address is Springfield, Pa., court documents say. Regulators are name a "related person" in court documents -- Johnnie Dancy of Missouri City, Texas -- who made the same Craigslist postings as Baxter, used the same phone number, and is possibly the same person.
The postings continued into May 2020, court documents say. On May 20, the Alabama Securities Commission filed a cease-and-desist order against Baxter. On June 5, the Mississippi Securities Division filed a similar order, seeking restitution as well. Arkansas followed on June 17 with its own order.
Massachusetts regulators are asking the court to bar Baxter from operating as a broker in the state, while ordering him to repay investors for losses.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton has covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @INNJohnH.
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