The Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) has investigated the offerings sold by Jewell Robbins, aka Jewell Burgin, and found them to be unregistered securities. Robbins is permanently banned from selling investments in Kentucky. The following information details court actions against Robbins in Franklin Circuit Court Case 06-CI-114, as well as a separate Fayette County Circuit Court criminal case.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this a scam?
Yes it is a scam. No investor has received any money from Robbins’ specious offerings. Also, Robbins has never registered the securities she is selling with DFI’s Securities Division. Robbins is permanently barred from selling investments in Kentucky.
If I invested, can I get my money back?
Investors may try to contact Robbins or her associates to request a refund. Investors also may pursue action against Robbins in civil court. Restitution for investors has not been ordered in this case.
- In the 1980s, Robbins began selling unregistered securities in the form of “interests in litigation.” She sold to investors fractional interests in what she might recover as a result of lawsuits filed on behalf of heirs attempting to obtain shares of inheritance from the Spindletop oil strike in Texas. (The lawsuits were dismissed.)
- Robbins also sold interest in an alleged judgment for billions of dollars and a movie to be titled “Swindletop.”
- Investors have told DFI officials that Robbins claimed the government or a certified public accountant was holding money for disbursement. Robbins has been unable to provide DFI with any documentation to support this claim and admitted in court on May 1, 2007, that she had not recovered any substantial funds.
- In 2003, the state Attorney General’s Office obtained an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance from Robbins. The document states that Robbins, who signed the document, agrees that she, her agents, employees, representatives, etc., will “immediately cease and desist from advertising, soliciting and accepting money from any natural person for the assignment of any interest in future and/or pending litigation involving the estate of James Meaders or the William R. Meadows’ Estate.”
- DFI obtained a permanent injunction in June 2006 to prohibit Robbins from offering or selling securities without DFI approval. DFI’s complaint alleged Robbins failed to disclose the exact nature of the investment to potential investors and the offering was not registered.
- The injunction also required Robbins to assist DFI in identifying all her investors and furnish DFI with her banking information.
- In October 2006, DFI filed a contempt of court motion against Robbins. The motion alleges three violations of the voluntary permanent injunction: (1) she continued selling securities, (2) failed to assist DFI by identifying her investors and (3) failed to supply DFI with names and locations of financial institutions in which she and her associates maintained accounts.
- In May 2007, Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas D. Wingate signed an order [PDF 275K] finding Jewell Robbins in contempt of court for “a willful, knowing violation” of the injunction. He sentenced Robbins to 120 days in the Franklin County Jail but suspended the jail time on condition that she comply with his order and the original injunction.
- In June 2008, DFI entered a motion [PDF 122K] in Franklin Circuit Court to hold Robbins in contempt, stating that she continues to defy the court's order to refrain from selling securities.
- In July 2008, Robbins was sentenced [PDF 185K] to 120 days in jail by Judge Wingate in Franklin Circuit Court. She was found in contempt of court because she continued to sell securities despite the court order. The judge released her from custody for medical treatment, with the provision that she report to the jail when released from the hospital. The Court of Appeals denied Robbins’ motion for emergency relief and motion for immediate relief, and she did serve the jail sentence.
- In a separate case, in September 2008, a Fayette County grand jury indicted Robbins on charges that she illegally sold securities related to the 1901 Spindletop oil strike. She was indicted on four felony counts, each punishable by one to five years in prison. The case was prosecuted by Fayette Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson through the work of the Financial Crimes Task Force. The charges were a result of an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and DFI.
- In February 2009, Robbins pleaded guilty in Fayette County Circuit Court to one count of violating Kentucky’s securities laws covering registration. The maximum possible penalty was five years in prison, and the Commonwealth recommended three years.
- In April 2009, Robbins was sentenced in Fayette County Circuit Court to three years in the state penitentiary, probated for five years, for violating Kentucky’s securities laws covering registration.
- Investors have a right to full disclosure of information related to a potential investment.
- It is a good idea to contact your securities administrator before investing. In Kentucky, call the Securities Division of DFI at 800-223-2579 with questions about an investment product, broker or adviser before making an investment. For contacts in other states, visit the North American Securities Administrators Association Web page.