Jefferson City, MO (STL.News) – Yesterday, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s Securities Division issued a final order to cease and desist against John Rallo and his company FFH Holdings LLC after he solicited over $1.3 million in unregistered, non-exempt securities investments from at least five St. Louis-area investors and one from Utah.
From approximately August 2015 to June 2016, Rallo solicited at least six investors — including residents of O’Fallon, St. Louis and Wildwood, Missouri — to invest over $1.3 million in his business FFH Holdings. Rallo claimed that the investment funds would be used to buy interests in Food For Health International, a Utah business, purportedly in the business of buying and selling coconut powder.
Rallo received payments back from Food For Health International of more than $1 million. However, Rallo returned only $38,000 to investors, funneling the majority of the funds to other businesses he controlled.
“Our office works to protect Missouri’s investors from fraudulent agents and firms by ensuring they — and the securities they are offering — are registered,” Securities Commissioner David M. Minnick said. “When we discover an unregistered agent or firm has fraudulently solicited money from investors, we work swiftly to investigate, put a halt to it, and attempt to get the money back to the investors.”
The division ordered Rallo and FFH Holdings to pay restitution plus interest, civil penalties and investigations costs totaling more than $1.36 million.
On May 10, 2019, Rallo pleaded not guilty to three counts of honest services fraud in U.S. District Court relating to former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger. Stenger recently resigned and pleaded guilty to three federal counts in a pay-to-play scheme following a yearlong, wide-ranging federal investigation. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Stenger “admitted involvement in five ‘schemes’ as part of his plea, four of which involve frequent donor John Rallo.”
Ashcroft urges all investors to know the risks. If you have any questions about an investment opportunity or wish to check the background and registration status of a financial adviser, please call the toll-free investor protection hotline at (800) 721-7996, or go online to www.missouriprotectsinvestors.com to file a complaint.