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The Securities & Exchange Commission has charged South Carolina lawyer M. Mark McAdams and a cohort with bilking about 35 investors out of $3.5 million. McAdams and co-defendant R. Dane Freeman allegedly promised investors in their firm, Global Holdings, returns of up to 4,900 percent in two months from buying and selling Standard and Poor’s AAA or AA rated bonds or medium-term notes and trading them overseas. According to the SEC, McAdams used the e-mail system and letterhead at the law firm where he was a partner, “without the firm’s knowledge, to communicate with investors and to conduct Global Holding’s business.” McAdams could not be reached for comment. Horry County, S.C., court records show McAdams worked at the McNair firm, which has eight offices in South Carolina and one in North Carolina. McNair managing partner David Tigges could not be immediately reached for comment. According to the SEC complaint, McAdams’ “activities at Global Holdings led to his resignation from his law firm in August 2008, after which McAdams opened his own law firm.” The SEC alleges that Global Holdings never purchased or sold bonds, and investors never received the profits promised. “McAdams and Freeman promised astronomical returns that they could not possibly deliver. Such statements, especially when they come from a practicing attorney, are of particular concern to the Division of Enforcement,” said Rhea Kemble Dignam, director of the SEC’s Atlanta Regional Office, in a statement. In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Florence Division, the SEC charged McAdams and Freeman with violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws, Sections 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The SEC is seeking a permanent injunction against future violations, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus prejudgment interest, and imposition of financial penalties.

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