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SEC charges Springer Financial Advisors, owner for allegedly defrauding clients

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint in federal court in Sacramento, Calif., charging Springer Investment Management Inc., d/b/a Springer Financial Advisors, and owner Keith Springer with defrauding retail clients, majority of whom were in or close to retirement.

The SEC complaint alleged that Springer and Springer Financial Advisors received millions of dollars in undisclosed compensation and other benefits for recommending certain investment products while claiming that there were no conflicts of interest. According to the complaint, clients learned of Springer through his radio show, "Smart Money with Keith Springer." Springer claimed he was selected to host the show because of his industry expertise when, in reality, Springer Financial Advisors paid to broadcast the show.

Springer also allegedly hired internet search suppression consultants to hide prior SEC charges and his NYSE disciplinary history and instructed employees not to provide the information to prospective clients.

The charges against Springer and Springer Financial Advisors include violation of the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws as well as SEC rules concerning advertisements, compliance, required disclosures, SEC reporting and recordkeeping.

The SEC is seeking injunctions, disgorgement of allegedly ill-gotten gains and civil penalties.