I’ve managed to dig up some information on Joel’s old investment advisor license using some good old fashioned internet sleuthing. I’m not finished, but it’s so long ago there’s no guarantee that there’s more to find.
Once upon a time, Joel was an investment advisor in the State of California. I pulled his FINRA report from…FINRA.org for free. The horror! He worked for a brokerage firm called CECO Financial Services (now defunct) from 05/06/1985 to 08/20/1986. None of that is interesting.
What is interesting is that this report has a little black mark on it. On 11/22/88 someone reported a regulatory event – a Cease & Desist Order in Missouri:
FORM U6 (8189-31588) DISCLOSES: PRUDENTIAL PETROLEUM CO. AND JOEL GILLIS OFFERED AND SOLD INVESTMENT CONTRACTS IN THE FORM OF A FILING SERVICE TO PROVIDE OIL AND GAS LEASES THROUGH THE FEDERAL LOTTERY TO INVESTORS IN THE STATE OF MISSOURI WITHOUT A VALID REGISTRATION. DOCKET/CASE NO. CD-88-99, DATED NOVEMBER 2, 1988.
THE FORM U6 INDICATES A CEASE AND DESIST ORDER ISSUED AGAINST RESPONDENTS.
Then it looks like Joel Responded. All the quoted spelling and grammatical errors are his, by the way.
IN 1983 I WAS VICE PRESIDENT OF A COMPANY WHO’S MAIN BUSINESS WAS TO ACT AS AN ADVISORY SERVICE FOR PEOPLE WHO WERE INTERESTED IN OBTIANING LAND FOR OIL RIGHTS IN WYOMING AND COLORADO. OUR METHOD OF MARKETING WAS MASS MAILINGS TO THE PUBLIC. AT SOME POINT IN 1983 OR EARLY 1984 MY COMPANY,PRUDENTIAL PETROLEUM, RECEIVED A CEASE AND DESIST ORDER FROM THE STATE OF MISSOURI. THEY CITED ONE OF THEIR STATE LAWS WHICH PROHIBITED THE MAILING OF OUR SOLICITATIONS INTO THEIR STATE. DUE TO THE FACT THAT MY SIGNATURE APPEARED ON THE ACCOMPANING LETTER TO THE BROCHURE, THE CEASE AND DESIST ORDER NAMED ME AS WELL AS PRUDENTIAL PETROLEUM. WHEN I JOINED NEW YORK LIFE IN 1989 AND SENT IN AN APPLICATION FOR MY SERIES 6 LICENSE, I WAS SHOCKED TO LEARN THAT THIS PARTICULARE OCCURRANCE WAS ON MY RECORD. TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT THIS EVENT HAD TAKEN PLACE SOME SIX YEARS PRIOR AND WHEN I FILLED OUT THE APPLICATION, IT NEVER CROSSED MY MIND. I NEVER REAPPLIED AFTER BECAUSE I HAD BECOME ENTRENCHED SELLING PRODUCTS THAT DID NOT CALL FOR A SERIES SIX LICENSE.
THERE WAS NO DISCIPLINARY ACTION TAKEN AGAINST ME THAT I AM AWARE OF UNLESS THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION CONSIDERS THAT CEASE AND DESIST ORDER TO BE SUCH. IN ANY EVENT I DO NOT CONSIDER THIS TO BE ANY WRONG DOING ON MY PART.
Prudential Petroleum was registered in the State of California on 9/23/1982 and their last state filing was on 2/22/1985.
So, it appears that Prudential Petroleum got in trouble for soliciting potential clients by mail in Missouri without a license, but Joel doesn’t think he did anything wrong.
Now, I looked up if the whole filing service thing could be scammy since it certainly seems like an excellent opportunity to fleece someone and found a hit on Google Books for an issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance from 1984.
State officials say boiler-room operators have persuaded too many people to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars for dubious “help” in entering the lottery, which, contrary to popular belief, includes only parcels of federal land where no geologic structure bearing oil or gas is known to exist.
I also found this other article in Chicago Tribune from 1991, which wraps up how much the victims will receive from a similar scam busted in 1983 (only eight years).
I have no details as to what exactly Joel or Prudential Petroleum was doing. It could have been legitimate and their only error was illegally soliciting in Missouri. But it is certainly suspicious that a company Joel operated in the early 80s provided a questionable service and got nailed with a Cease and Desist. I will continue looking into this.