Montana Securities Commissioner Monica Lindeen has filed an action to immediately prevent a Florida man and his company from luring more Montanans into a scam. Deputy Securities Commissioner Lynne Egan said an alleged Ponzi Scheme has cost one Park County woman most of her life’s savings and is the subject of federal fraud charges.

"We did receive a call from an elderly woman in Park County Montana who invested a good portion of her life savings into a program that appears to be a Ponzi Scheme," Egan said. "It has been charged as a Ponzi Scheme at the federal level, and we at the state level have issued a Cease and Desist Order and Notice of Proposed Agency Action."

Egan said a Florida-based company, TBTI, the alleged cause for the scam, offers virtual kiosks to potential investors—something that is said to be an ATM-like machine that consumers can use to get discounts. Montana hasn’t even heard of this kind of scam yet. Lindeen filed a Cease and Desist Order and Notice of Proposed Agency Action last week against TBTI, Inc. and one of its owners, Paul Schumack.

"We issued a Cease and Desist Order which orders to stop transacting securities business to or from Montana," Egan said. "We also issued a Notice of Proposed Agency Action in which we allege that TBTI and Mr. Schumack were violating Montana law giving them the opportunity to argue in a hearing. They have 15 days to request a hearing."

Under the scheme, the woman paid Schumack $14,000. In return, he promised her at least $300 in monthly income for four years. She never received any return on her investment.

The company has yet to request a hearing.

If this happens to you or someone else, call the Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Office at (406) 444-2040 or toll free at (800) 332-6148. You can also file a complaint on their website.

Lynne Egan: