Goolsby, partner ordered to stop investment services

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Submitted: Fri, 05/23/2014 - 3:21am
Updated: Fri, 05/23/2014 - 12:05pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The North Carolina Secretary of State’s office has told Sen. Thom Goolsby (R-9th District) and a business partner to stop their work as investment advisers.

The Secretary of State Securities Officials issued a Final Consent Order in a case involving the Empowered Investor Inc., which was owned by Goolsby and James Upham.

The order was issued after Secretary of State Division of Securities investigators found that the company and the two investment advisers marketed an investment strategy they termed the “10-20-50 Plan.” According to a news release from the Secretary of State’s office, the plan supposedly invested clients’ money in a way where investments losing more than 10 percent would be sold to prevent further loss, investments earning more than 20 percent would be sold to capture the gains, and no more than 50 percent of the clients’ accounts would be invested in securities at any one time. Investigators determined this plan frequently was not followed, resulting in greater client losses than if failing investments had been sold once they suffered a 10-percent loss. Investigators also found clients were not told their money was being invested in a way that was different than being advertised.

As part of the consent order, the company and the two investment advisers had their investment adviser registrations revoked by the Secretary of State’s Office. The order also requires the three parties to wait 10 years before seeking to register as investment advisers again.

Empowered Investor Incorporated, Upham and Goolsby were also ordered to cease and desist from engaging in any practice involving securities or financial services business in North Carolina.

“I have no personal comment on the consent order I signed several months ago after the business was closed,” Goolsby wrote in a text message to a WWAY reporter. Instead he shared a statement from his attorney Melissa Gott.

“This is a business that was ultimately not a success,” Gott’s statement read. “Thom Goolsby dedicated a great deal of energy and his own money in this venture. He never received even one paycheck. However, he worked hard to see to it that all the debts of the corporation were paid and investors compensated. That’s just the kind of person he is. Thom Goolsby was never a registered investment advisor. For many months he co-hosted a radio show where he talked about trading in the stock market. A lawsuit was filed last year and quickly dismissed. The parties later amicably resolved all matters.”

In that lawsuit, 10 clients claimed they lost tens of thousands of dollars through Empowered Investor. H. Mitchell Baker III, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said he and his clients could not comment on today’s news because of the terms of the settlement, but Baker told WWAY “all claims were resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.”

Goolsby, who was elected to the North Carolina Senate in 2010, announced earlier this year he would not seek a third term in office. He has said he wants to spend more time with his family and on his Wilmington law practice.

Upham told WWAY this morning he would like to talk about the consent order. He said he had to check with his attorney first. He has not yet called back.


  • Citizen Jason says:

    This thing stinks to High Heaven. If the only outcome was, or is, a undisclosed, sealed settlement, and a order to cease and desist from engaging in any practice involving securities or financial services business in North Carolina. This is not even a ‘Slap On The Wrist’. The NC Justice System is a total disgrace. And clearly, the fox is guarding the henhouse.

  • Ricky1234 says:

    Was this a honest mistake ? Or was it fraud ? I guess we’ll probably never know. Since, it appears,everything is being covered up.

    I know one thing. A good, honest, Christian-Conservative, Patriotic, All-American, individual would never scheme to bilk helpless people out of their life savings. And he is not afraid of the TRUTH.

  • Me, Myself, and I says:

    In my opinion, this looks like a huge cover-up. Instead of people agreeing not to talk, it would be better for the public to know the truth.

    It looks to me like this whole thing will just blow over. It’s so wrong and unfair.

  • Jeff From Utah says:

    It’s a shame everything seems so “hush, hush”, and it appears there will be a out-of court settlement.

    Mark Twain once said: “Better to keep your mouth shut, and let people think you are guilty, then to open it, and erase all doubt.”

    Is it possible, someone wants to keep a few mouths from being opened ?

  • jj says:

    Thom well written.

  • 9743 says:

    Some of the reasons why this guy decided not to run for re-election have begun to emerge but I’m sure there’s much more to this story than what has been read here and in the print media. Stay tuned!!!

  • Guest000000 says:

    This should be thoroughly investigated. As thoroughly investigated as a woman’s uterus with a vaginal wand. He shouldn’t have a problem with that should he?

  • Beach guy says:

    The article clearly states that an amicable settlement was reached by both parties. This is a civil matter not a criminal one the state did their job the persons that lost money were apparently made whole.
    yet there are fifteen out of nineteen comments on cover up and conspiracies or slamming The senator. What a bunch of wacky birds to quote another politician!
    It is a private civil matter folks.

    How about the past two ex governors being indited now there is something that was swept under the rug by “high powered” politicians or a hundred and forty eight years of sterilization and Jim Crow and voter suppression or being 48th in education we did not get there in two years , and lets not forget 40 years of pedophilia by the freak that ran the state legislature until he retired ,not voted out but retired as in get a pension. I cannot believe none of this was brought to light until he left office. How many ex- NC politicians from the left are actual criminals Thomas Wright is still behind bars or is he out you need a score card to keep up! I guess all of that filth is OK if a democrat does it but let someone that is a Conservative make and honest mistake and you people get all batty!
    All we hear from the left is how poorly the new guys are doing, when your side did a hell of a lot less and worse for almost a hundred and fifty years. Everything was hunky dory and them poor ole politicians were doing the best they could under the circumstances.
    The teachers in NC were making the same or less when the left was in charge and I mean forever but they are just now complaining about it or is the left wing media just now reporting it.
    Just be honest with yourselves before you try and vilify anyone

  • Renfield says:

    Tom’s “wand” is going places where it wasn’t designed to go.

  • taxpayer says:

    this was a FINRA arbitration case…nothing more…nothing less.

  • Tim says:

    Thom is comparing his actions to Governors of North Carolina. OMG… Thom represented Brian Berger!!! He’s a small town sleazy lawyer whose now been convicted of swindling money from old folks!!! Guess Michael Lee must be pissing his pants to distance himself from this idiot married to the Stepford Wife. Physical assaults can heal but emotional assaults last a lifetime.

  • Fedup says:

    Is anyone really surprised that another republican is lying and trying to screw people out of their money?

  • Gramps1945 says:

    It IS a COVER UP……. Nothing more………. nothing less.

  • guestyI says:

    Truly a “white collar” crook. Hopefully he’ll eventually pull some prison time. I suspect this news is just the tip of the iceberg?

  • Gramps1945 says:

    Thom Goolsby is a great, totally-honest, All-American, Christian, humble, public servant. He would never conspire a fraudulent scheme, to raid people of their life savings. He is a “Pillar of Society”. He is the pride of Wilmington. He fights for us, in Raleigh. He is the most, non-self serving, non-greedy, lawyer, I have ever met.

    It seems to me, Thom Goolsby should insist on full public disclosure, and open public discourse, of all parties involved. A binding, mandated “No Talk”, out-of court settlement, hides the truth. He has nothing to hide.

    There is nothing like the full light of truth. Sunlight cleanses the Earth of mold, fraud, and scum. This situation, seems to unfairly taint a great, non-crooked man, like Thom Goolsby. I have no idea why Thom Goolsby, seems to want to keep this thing quiet. He, above all, should want the whole truth, being shouted from the rooftops.

    Being a public, elected official, it would be to his advantage to publicly insist on the release all information. Then we can all see how clean his hands are. For the life of me, I just can’t understand why he might agree to, or maybe even possibly insist on, a non-disclosure agreement.

    A nondisclosure agreement covers things up. The truth needs to be exposed. The truth sets you free.

    Thom. You have absolutely nothing to hide. This horrible garbage, unfairly taints your great reputation. You should publicly invite all data, on this horrible possible scandal, to be publicly introduced, and examined. You should insist on full, non-binding, public discourse, by all parties involved. Why in the World would a non-crooked guy, like you, not want the public fully informed ? Why in the World would you not want the full light of truth shining on this horrible, apparent scandal ? Why might he not want full public disclosure ? I just don’t understand.

    We don’t need some cover up, sealed agreement.

    For all we know. There might be possibly be fraud here. If Thom fought for full public disclosure, he might assist North Carolina in catching a possible crook.

  • Lisa's Two Cents says:

    Let me see.
    -A failed “Business”.
    -Several people suing, claiming funds were not being invested as advertised.
    – A situation so horrible, the Attorney General has to step in.
    – A possible “sealed agreement”. Which might mean “Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte”.

    This looks as ugly as it gets. I hope high-placed power isn’t being misused, to shove something under a rug.

    Goolsby is a elected official. The voters should know the full truth.

  • Me, Myself, and I says:

    Out of Court Settlement, my foot. A possible “Sealed Agreement”, my foot.
    Lawyers and financial agents hold a honored, trusted, licensed, professional, position. The NC Bar Association needs to fully review every element of this situation. Right now, I feel, both these men’s fitness to hold their respective licenses, are in serious question.


    I hope the Attorney General, or District Attorney, fully investigate this matter. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And when people start speaking through lawyers, you know there’s a huge problem.

    Fraud is a crime, first and foremost, against the State of NC. Civil settlement is irrelevant, to a criminal matter.

    If it is established that Fraud, or False Pretense, occurred. Then the people of NC need to be protected.

  • taxpayer says:

    is now a District Sales Manager for a motorhome company. Far cry from what he was doing previously.

  • taxpayer says:

    never was an investment advisor, but simply sat on the sidelines acting as a cheerleader for James. Goolsby has never held a securities license, but touted James as the best thing since sliced bread with respect to investment management.

    Their entire investment strategy was based on options trading. As if there’s no risk in that.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    another motivator in his decision not to run for re-election.

    As an attorney, he should have known better.

  • 10101 says:

    As an attorney, he probably did.

  • Barry says:

    SCT, this is the only reason he did not run. He had higher aspirations politically. No more.

  • Bearclaw says:

    Who actually voted for this charlatan? He’s like the old stereotypical used-car salesman with a seersucker suit and bow tie added to appeal to the upper-class.

  • Tim says:

    Perhaps call the group “The Immoral Morons”?

  • J.W.B. says:

    Why is it these high profile attorneys are somehow involved in some sort of dirty dealings? One would think that they would have some sort of integrity. Just like the slime ball that is featured on “Ask the expert”.. Obviously wway failed to smell that rotten egg*** Anyhow just my opinion GOD BLESS AMERICA!

  • SamILM says:

    Once again, the Senator has displayed his true colors. When time passes and his legacy comes into consideration, Thom Goolsby will land on the wrong side of history. His pompous distain for many of his constituents, as well as his condesending & haughty manner when articulating himself has always spoken volumes about the man. He is, in so many people’s opinion, a greedy and power-hungry individual who is a teller of half-truths and incapable of accepting responsibiilty in a mature way. Dangerous.

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