Maryland's attorney general has issued a cease-and-desist order to two Maryland-based firms and their principal for violating the state's securities laws by operating a Web site that promoted an unregistered investment plan and portfolio fund and offering investment advice related to both.

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. (D) said in a written statement that the order will prevent Infinity Financial Investment Corp., WallStreet-Analysis Investments and their principal Michael Luther from soliciting investors until a hearing can be held.

Curran's securities division said the action could help the state find possible victims and warn potential investors about the "misrepresentations and omissions" made by the two firms.

State investigators allege that the two firms sold shares in the WallStreet-Analysis Total Return Fund but did not return invested funds despite assertions that the investor account showed a profit.

Their site also claims a performance record for WallStreet-Analysis showing a one-year rate of return of 12.3 percent and elsewhere claims a return of 34.76 percent to fund holders last year but does not identify the principals who achieved returns, Curran's statement said.

Luther could not be reached for comment yesterday. Infinity Financial Investment is a private firm in Annapolis founded in 2003 that generates $1.2 million in sales annually.

Curran said Luther, his companies, and their fund are not registered with the state to sell securities or provide investment advice as required by state law.

"There is great risk of the loss of investors' money when there is no way to substantiate claims of profit or management expertise," Curran said. "That can be especially true with Internet solicitations, which can convey a false sense of high-tech sophistication and legitimacy, and may deceive those who otherwise rely on the Internet for valid news and communications."

Curran said customers of the companies with complaints can call his office at 410-576-6360.