SALEM, Ohio — The State of Washington has finalized its cease and desist order against the Canadian company Pigeon King International.
That state’s securities division entered the final consent order May 2.
Investigation showed pigeon breeder Arlan Galbraith and his company violated the state’s Business Opportunity Fraud Act and were not registered with the state to offer business opportunities there.
Galbraith said in a phone interview May 12 that the order “doesn’t mean anything, really. It sounds important, but it’s not,” and credited the action to “lots of troublemakers out there who are complaining.”
“I’m not even interested in doing business there. I’m not interested in doing business in any state where I’m not welcome, case closed.”
The state also fined Galbraith $1,000.
Galbraith dismissed the Washington action and said he’s also voluntarily agreed not to do business in South Dakota.
“A lot of people are trigger-happy, and I don’t know why. They assume I started this business a couple months ago, when in fact I have a perfect track record of paying [growers] for pigeons every four weeks for the past seven, almost eight years,” Galbraith said.
“It’s always profitable to the farmer. I challenge any hog or cattle business to make the same claims on a consistent basis,” he said.
Galbraith also pointed fingers at “the troublemakers” as being jealous of his growers.
“There’s a lot of jealousy out there, not just of me, but also the people who raise pigeons. They’re very successful. There are always complaints from those who don’t do business with us, from the friends and neighbors of the growers. That’s not a good reflection on human nature, is it?”
In the money
Pigeon King International, which bills itself as the world’s second-largest pigeon breeder, invites investors and buyers to invest as much as $50,000 to $100,000 or more to buy hundreds of pigeon breeding pairs.
Galbraith, in turn, contracts with the growers to buy back the offspring. He’s told them the pigeons will be sold to new investors, and on the marketplace for meat or as pets.
Galbraith’s Web site tells of plans to eventually offer pigeon as an alternative to chicken on the global market. He’s currently “developing a special line of squabbling meat pigeons,” according to the site.
In March, the Iowa attorney general’s office finished its investigation into the company and warned of its concern that Pigeon King International was a Ponzi scheme.
A Ponzi scheme is defined as an investment fraud in which early investors are paid with money obtained from later ones in order to create the illusion of profitability.
Pigeon King International owns 1,600 pairs of breeding pigeons in Ohio alone, plus 1,300 pairs in Indiana and in Pennsylvania, according to the Web site. A number of farmers in both Ohio and Pennsylvania also raise pigeons for the firm.
One southeast Ohio farmer recently reported receiving a mailed postcard that touts the benefits of becoming involved in pigeon breeding with Galbraith, proof the company continues its push in the Buckeye State.
Galbraith said his company currently does business in several U.S. states and Canadian provinces.
Last fall, Farm and Dairy featured Monroe County pigeon breeders David and Marlene Rinkes, who said they have never had trouble with receiving payment from Galbraith and dismissed the idea that breeding pigeons was a scheme.
Related coverage from Farm and Dairy:
Pigeons point to Ponzi scheme (3/13/2008)
You’re raising what? Pigeons! (9/13/2007)