ANNA MARIA ISLAND — FBI agents raided the home and business of a Holmes Beach financial consultant Wednesday, the same day he took the stand in an Arizona federal courtroom against federal charges that he allegedly sold unregistered securities.
The raids Wednesday stemmed from an investigation opened by the FBI in Newark, N.J., but officials declined to say why they searched Doyle Scott Elliott’s home and business.
FBI spokesman Bryan Travers said agents began the investigation based on leads generated in New Jersey, but the nature of the investigation is not being disclosed.
“This is very much still an open investigation,” Travers said. “All I can say is the agent who executed the search warrants said he was pleased with how things went.”
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FBI agents, assisted by Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach police, searched Elliott’s home in the Key Royale neighborhood on Holmes Beach and his business, Elliott and Associates, at 2219 Gulf Drive N. in Bradenton Beach. Manatee County Property Appraiser records show Elliott listed “investment advice” as the business use for the building.
Property records also show Elliott bought his Key Royale home in 2006 for more than $1.3 million, but that it now has an estimated market value of just more than $614,000.
Two women in his home declined comment Thursday.
It is unclear if the raids are related to Elliot’s trial on charges of selling unregistered securities, which began Tuesday in Phoenix.
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil lawsuit against Elliott and two iBIZ Technology Corp. officers in 2006, accusing them of conspiring to sell unregistered shares in the Phoenix company and inflate its stock price. Elliott sold 182.4 million shares in all, raising $886,800 for the company and pocketing $383,467 as payment for consulting work that he never did for the company, the SEC suit contends.
Elliott has denied the accusations, contending in court records that the securities weren’t required to be registered. He took the stand in his own defense Wednesday, the second day of his trial, court records show.
He is the only defendant to go to trial, as the others have reached plea deals with prosecutors. Those defendants pleaded to charges of stock fraud, said Thomas D. Birge, a Denver attorney who is representing Elliott in Phoenix.
The SEC is seeking a civil penalty and to have Elliott, 51, barred from dealing in penny stocks.
He also was banned from selling securities through any National Association of Securities Dealers member in 2004, records show.
The NASD said Elliott, while a broker at Kashner Davidson Securities of Sarasota in 2001, misappropriated $35,000 in client funds by keeping the money instead of using it to buy stock.
Elliott also has run into legal trouble with casinos, records show.
Using chips he bought with post-dated business checks, he lost $200,0000 playing blackjack aboard the M/V Ocean Jewel in September 2005, court records show. When he returned to land, he put a stop order on the checks.
The operator of the St. Petersburg-based gambling cruise ship sued to recover the money, but a federal judge ruled in favor of Elliott, court records show.
A Mississippi casino won a $105,756 judgment against Elliott last year, according to court records.
Bradenton financial advisor Tom Kubik said he has not heard of Elliott in local investment circles, but said the FBI knocking on his door is not a good sign.
Kubik said if the investigation is investment-related, it would have to be based on a potentially major crime.
“The FBI doesn’t really get involved if you sell an elderly person an annuity you shouldn’t have,” he said. “They deal with things like money laundering, racketeering and Ponzi schemes. The big stuff.”
The raids of Elliot’s home and office also brought a lot of interest from islanders who witnessed them.
“They made a mess of the office,” said Becky Smith, of Wagner Realty, located next door to Elliott & Associates. “I saw a man on the ground on his knees sorting through all kinds of paper.”