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WASHINGTON (September 24, 2003) –The following is a statement by Ralph A. Lambiase, President of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) and Connecticut Securities Director, regarding the multi-state enforcement action announced today by securities regulators in Alabama, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Puerto Rico. This enforcement action targets an “advance fee” scheme that allegedly defrauded individuals and businesses seeking commercial and residential loans in 13 states and Puerto Rico. The oldest international organization devoted to investor protection, NASAA was founded in 1919 and is the voice of securities agencies responsible for grass-roots investor protection and efficient capital formation. Its membership consists of the securities administrators in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

“NASAA applauds the multi-state enforcement action announced today by Alabama, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Puerto Rico securities regulators. Their actions are typical of the aggressive and successful steps states take every day to protect Main Street from financial fraud. Today`s announcement effort demonstrates how individual states, with the support of NASAA`s Board of Directors and its Enforcement Section, can coordinate their resources to protect investors and stop fraudulent activity before it becomes a national problem.

“NASAA is proud to support the effort of its members in ferreting out white-collar crime. Many investors understandably feel that their state or provincial securities regulator, the cop on the beat, is the logical place to start with a complaint. State and provincial securities regulators are quick to respond, even to individual complaints that may not on the surface garner widespread attention, filing approximately 2,500 administrative actions a year.

“Protecting investors against fraud and punishing those who would commit fraud are fundamental roles of government and no actions are acceptable to us that would undermine our ability to protect our citizens.

“State securities regulators have consistently identified problems arising from misconduct at the local level. Earlier this month, for example, NASAA issued an alert warning seniors to be on the lookout for increased levels of investment fraud. I firmly believe that tough regulatory oversight, hard-hitting enforcement, and investor education are the necessary elements to protect the investing public and restore investor confidence.”

For More Information:
Bob Webster, Director of Communications