A Bluffton resident under investigation by the S.C. Attorney General's Office for alleged securities violations has been permanently barred from conducting securities business in South Carolina, according to an order from the Attorney General's office.
Peter Iodice and Compass Energy Holdings were issued a cease-and-desist order by the Attorney General's Office in February to stop selling shares of the company. On Sept. 26, the Attorney General's Office permanently barred Iodice from conducting securities transactions in the state and ordered Compass Energy to pay a $40,000 fine to the office's Securities Division.
Iodice cannot contest the order, according to an Attorney General's Office spokesman.
Attempts to reach Iodice for comment last week were unsuccessful.
The consent order said Iodice and two others violated the S.C. Securities Act of 2005 by selling almost $2 million worth of stock in Compass Energy without being registered in the state. The cease-and-desist order said Iodice failed to notify investors about a 2007 fraud conviction and that one of the company's agents, George Heffernan of Myrtle Beach, was already banned for life from the securities business in South Carolina.
The order said Iodice pleaded guilty to a felony charge of obtaining goods under false pretenses in 2007 after he solicited a $100,000 investment in a car dealership in Chesterfield County without the authority to do so. Iodice was sentenced to five years' probation, with a suspended 10-year sentence, and was ordered to pay $120,000 in restitution.
Compass Energy planned to acquire and operate convenience stores along the East Coast or lease them to operators. According to the order, the company was authorized to sell $500,000 worth of securities through January 2010.
The company, however, continued to sell and issue stock without properly registering with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission after January 2010, the order said. By October 2012, Iodice and Compass Energy had sold about $2 million worth of shares and planned to issue a total of $5 million worth of stock, the order said.
Several more companies have filed claims against Iodice and Travel Center Partners Inc., a company run by Iodice that ran gas stations and convenience stores around South Carolina and Georgia, alleging Iodice failed to pay them for materials or work.
Krispy Kreme filed a complaint against Iodice and Travel Center Partners in Beaufort County Court Dec. 5, alleging Iodice owed the company for more than $4,800 in products delivered to several stores Travel Center Partners operated.
Three other complaints have been filed against Iodice in Bluffton Magistrate Court:
- Degler Waste Services of Bluffton filed a complaint Dec. 10 against Iodice and his son Christopher Iodice for money the company says it is owed for cleaning a car wash Iodice operated on Plantation Park Drive in March, according to court records. The $1,383 included eight months of late fees totaling $148, according to court documents.
- North Charleston-based Ferguson Receivables filed a complaint against Iodice on Sept. 16 for nearly $1,850 of unpaid invoices, according to court records. After Iodice failed to respond to the complaint, Ferguson Receivables was awarded more than $1,920 on Nov. 25. Attempts to reach Ferguson Receivables representatives for comment were unsuccessful.
- Grayco filed a complaint against Iodice and Travel Center Partners on July 24, alleging Iodice never made payments on more than $5,400 worth of materials he received from the company. Iodice never responded to the complaint, and Grayco was awarded a $5,500 judgment Oct. 10, according to court records.
Previous financial claims against Iodice have gone unpaid, according to court documents.
Beaufort-based Southern Carpet Wholesale filed suit against Iodice in June for unpaid work. The company installed carpet at a proposed corporate office in a former Arby's restaurant in Bluffton on March 26 and is still owed $6,555, according to John Kraft, the carpet company's manager. Iodice never responded to the complaint, which was turned over to debt collections in August, according to court records.
Residential Electric Services and the William-Ryan Co. took legal action after Iodice failed to pay for $7,560 in electrical work at the Arby's, filing a lien in early May against the property, Bluffton attorney R. Tabor Vaux Jr. said in July. Attempts Thursday to reach Vaux for comment were unsuccessful.
A $7,500 lien placed on the Ultimate Car Wash by Bolt Electric for the March installation of a plug-in electric charging station was never paid off and has been turned over for collection, Bolt Electric co-owner Shawn Reid said.
Reid's company installed the charging station in March, but the gas station was turned back over to its original owners in June and the lien was never paid.
"It was one of the first charging stations installed around here. It was supposed to be this joyous thing," Reid said. "I was proud to put it in. Instead, I got burned by a white-collar criminal. Pete's going to run and he's never going to get caught."
Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.