DENVER (AP) -- Colorado's securities commissioner is reporting an increase in securities-fraud investigations in the tough economy.
Colorado Securities Commissioner Fred Joseph says his office usually has about 200 active cases. He estimates his office has seen a 10 percent to 15 percent increase in open investigations over last year.
The cases are concentrated in oil and gas, real estate and investing, which includes several alleged Ponzi schemes.
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Denver said the office also is seeing an increase in financial-related investigations.
Experts say fraudulent schemes can become popular in good times, then falter as the economy tumbles and operators struggle to pay investors who demand their money back.