Federal investigators have filed a civil complaint against a Kansas City-based company that says it is worth $284 billion, saying its claimed interests in gold and rock mines are essentially worthless.

Federal investigators have filed a civil complaint against a Kansas City-based company that says it is worth $284 billion, saying its claimed interests in gold and rock mines are essentially worthless.


A complaint filed Friday by an agent with the Internal Revenue Service said that instead of investing $5 million into Petro America, stockholders financed houses, cars, fur coats, boats, luxury vacations and a $5,200 luggage set.


The Kansas City Star reported Saturday that the complaint is seeking forfeiture of those goods and accounts at 12 banks and credit unions.


The affidavit claims "probable cause" that the assets were "involved in or traceable to" acts of securities fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and interstate transportation of property.


No charges had been filed as of Friday.


Owen Hawkins, a Kansas City, Kan., resident who founded the company in April 2007, told the newspaper neither he nor others named in the complaint have done anything wrong.


"We committed no fraud," Hawkins said. "They're overreaching. We created shareholder value."


Hawkins said he has been cooperating with investigators, but he's not sure what issues they're examining.


Petro America has portrayed itself in news releases as a rapidly growing enterprise with a collection of gold mines and a list of subsidiaries and divisions involved in electric cars, real estate, oil and gas exploration and financial services.


Many shareholders said they paid $100 for 100,000 private shares. They were told their shares would eventually trade publicly and gain enormous value.


Hawkins and others promoted the company by asserting that Petro America's acquisitions and other things made it worth $284 billion. If so, the company's assets dwarf those of the Kansas City area's largest public company, Sprint Nextel Corp., which claims assets of $53 billion.