September 23, 2011
Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica J. Lindeen will join actor Bill Pullman to premiere her new documentary about investment fraud in Montana on Monday, Oct. 3 at the Myrna Loy Center in Helena. The documentary, Gold Diggers: Investment Fraud in the Treasure State, tells the story of two of Montana's most infamous investment scams.
"More than two hundred years ago, prospectors flocked to what we now call the Treasure State in search of fortunes," said Lindeen. "Though Montana's prospector days are long behind us, we have a new brand of gold diggers who prey on our trust in search of fortunes. Modern day gold diggers are scammers and con-artists who can steal a life savings in the blink of an eye."
Narrated by award-winning actor Bill Pullman, Gold Diggers tracks two recent cases of investment fraud in Montana: the Arthur Heffelfinger case in Helena and the Anne Marie Schlenker case in Bozeman. Combined, the two scams robbed dozens of Montana investors of more than $3 million, leaving victims in financial ruin. The film features interviews with victims, securities experts, and the regulators and attorneys who investigated and prosecuted the two scams.
Lindeen will screen the documentary in cities and towns across the state as part of her office's continuing effort to educate Montana investors about securities fraud and how to spot scams before they start. Starting Oct. 10, Lindeen will screen the documentary on a four-day, five-city tour with stops in Missoula, Belgrade, Dillon, Butte, and Helena. Each public screening will include a free meal and end with a question and answer period where attendees can learn more about avoiding fraud. Lindeen plans on continuing the documentary tour in 2012 with stops in Billings, Bozeman, Great Falls, Havre, and many more cities and towns across Montana.
"Education is the silver bullet when it comes to fighting fraud," said Lindeen. "The more Montanans know about their rights and where they can turn for help, the better they can protect themselves from modern day gold diggers."
Lindeen's office produced Gold Diggers with a grant from the Investor Protection Trust, a nationally-recognized, securities education organization that helps consumers make informed investment decisions. All funding for the Trust comes from voluntary and court-ordered contributions from criminals who commit investment fraud.
To learn more about Gold Diggers: Investment Fraud in the Treasure State, sign up to attend a documentary screening near you, or learn more about spotting and fighting fraud, visit the Commissioner's website at www.csi.mt.gov/fraudtour.asp. To report suspicious activity or fraud, call the Commissioner's office at 1-800-332-6148.