February 11, 2001
Maryland officials have gone to court to shut down a company that allegedly raised $3 million by promising investors nearly risk-free, guaranteed investments in automated teller machines.

The state Attorney General charged that Bankcard Group Inc. and its executives were running an unregistered and fraudulent investment program and that at least 130 investors had already been bilked. Investigators said that the company had sold more than 200 ATMs but that only 44 had been delivered and installed.

The complaint said that investors were sold an interest in an ATM for $250 to $2,500. They were promised a fee for each ATM transaction and monthly payments of about $250. Some investors paid as much as $6,000 to $10,000 for an entire ATM machine, the complaint said.

Bankcard Group CEO Andrew H. Williams denied the allegations, which he called "absolutely false." Nevertheless, a Prince George's County Circuit Judge granted the state a temporary injunction and appointed a receive to take control of the company, which also uses the names Bankcard Group 1 Inc. and ATM Group Enterprises LLC.

Williams said the company has installed machines in New York City, Chicago, Ocean City, MD, and Myrtle Beach, SC. He admitted that some machines had not yet been placed but said the company was working on it.

The Attorney General's complaint charged that Williams has been paid more than $165,000 from account containing investors' money while another executive was paid $329,000.