Department of Financial Institutions
Jewell Robbins Sentenced on Criminal Charge
FRANKFORT, KY (Friday, April 10, 2009) – Today a Fayette County Circuit Court judge sentenced Jewell Robbins, 76, of Nicholasville, to three years in the state penitentiary, probated for five years, because she violated Kentucky’s securities laws.
The sentence is a result of an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Larson’s Office prosecuted the case.
Judge James Ishmael probated Robbins’ sentence due to her age and health, although he states that she didn’t deserve probation. He stipulated that she is not to communicate with a California attorney about the Spindletop case and is not to sell shares, talk to people about selling shares or take money from investors.
“This deal stunk to high heaven, and reasonable people should have figured that out,” said Judge Ishmael in court. “And reasonable people should not have continued taking money … on this pipe dream.”
On Feb. 13, Robbins pleaded guilty to one felony count of violating Kentucky Revised Statute 292.330, which covers registration of broker-dealers, agents and investment advisers. The maximum possible penalty is five years in prison, and the commonwealth recommended three years. Robbins was indicted by a grand jury on Sept. 29, 2008, on four felony charges that she illegally sold securities related to the 1901 Spindletop oil strike.
“I want to thank the commonwealth’s attorney and the postal inspectors for bringing felony charges in a case that DFI has followed for years,” said DFI Commissioner Charles Vice. “Selling shares in a fraudulent investment – or in fact, selling any shares without the proper registration – won’t be tolerated in Kentucky. This should send a clear message that anyone who promotes these types of scams may be subject to investigation and prosecution.”
In 2008, Robbins, aka Jewell Burgin, served jail time as a result of DFI’s civil court case regarding the specious offerings she has sold for many years. She was found in contempt of court because she continued to sell securities despite court orders in June 2006 and May 2007.
On June 16, 2006, Robbins signed a voluntary, permanent injunction order that bars her from selling any securities, including partial interest in litigation or judgments. Robbins sold shares in baseless lawsuits that attempt to claim inheritance related to the 1901 Spindletop oil strike in Texas. An order was entered May 10, 2007, finding Robbins in contempt of court because she continued to sell securities, despite the injunction. In 2007, the judge sentenced her to 120 days in jail, but suspended the sentence contingent on her complying with the court orders. Robbins was found in contempt again on July 16, 2008, and served about 110 days in jail.
The injunction order remains in effect, and Judge Ishmael noted that violation of that order would also constitute violation of the felony probation sentence.
For more background information on DFI’s case against Robbins, visit www.kfi.ky.gov/public/dfivrobbins.htm.
DFI is an agency in the Public Protection Cabinet. It supervises the financial services industry by examining, chartering, licensing and registering various financial institutions, securities firms and professionals operating in Kentucky. DFI’s mission is to serve Kentucky residents by maintaining a stable financial industry, continuing effective and efficient regulatory oversight, promoting consumer confidence, and encouraging economic opportunities.