CONCORD, N.H. — There may be some bad blood between a former New Hampshire financial adviser and clients he's accused of defrauding via a fake charity he claimed involved singer Taylor Swift.
The state bureau of securities regulation recently obtained a temporary court order freezing the assets of Dain Stokes and prohibiting him from contacting two former clients. Starting about a year ago, the pair invested at least $576,000 in what they believed was a charity project in Africa involving Swift, Bill Gates and other celebrities, authorities said.
"We only know of two (investors), but we have concerns that there may be others," Noah Abrahams, staff attorney for the securities bureau, said Wednesday.
Authorities said Stokes promised clients a 20% return, but instead spent some of the money on himself and transferred the rest to multiple people and entities across the country. He also told clients he was engaged to Swift, according to court documents, and mentioned her in text messages updating clients about the project.
"We need $30k this week to finish the project in Africa so we all get paid big, I can come up with $20k, but I'm $10k short, so you have it?" Stokes texted one investor, according to the complaint. "If not, no worries, but Taylor asked me to personally ask you, lol, she likes you! Let me know."
In another text, Stokes wrote: "Trump's illegally locked my bank accounts and I'm fighting it in the Federal Bank Commission in the New Hampshire AG's Office. Taylor is releasing a new song on Instagram in 30 minutes and I'm promoting it."
One of the investors said he had been a client of Stokes for about 15 years, including the last 10 when Stokes worked for LPL Financial in Bedford. Stokes, of Fremont, has been fired from that job, and he did not show up to a court hearing before the temporary order was issued. A phone message was left for him Wednesday at a possible home number.
Abrahams said the case remains under investigation, and the bureau is pursuing restitution for Stokes' clients. It's possible Stokes will face criminal charges in addition to the administrative court case. When police asked Stokes about the name of the Africa charity and where the money goes, he claimed it was confidential, authorities said.
Holly Ramer, The Associated Press