Follow-on APs, Suspensions, and Bars (February 2018)

  • In re Scott Walter Christensen (A.P. Feb. 1, 2018, Settled)
  • In re Thomas Edward Andrews (A.P. Feb. 1, 2018, Settled)
  • In re Craig Karlis (A.P. Feb. 2, 2018, Settled)
  • In re Andrew H. Wilson, Esq. (A.P. Feb. 5, 2018, Settled)
  • In re John T. Lynch, Jr. (A.P. Feb. 6, 2018, Settled)
  • In re Banc One Investment Advisors Corp. and Mark A. Beeson (A.P. Feb. 7, 2018, Settled)
  • In re Michael S. Moses (A.P. Feb.
... Continue Reading

SEC v. Analytica Bio-Energy Corp., et al. (D.D.C. Feb. 28, 2018, Settled)

Action against Defendants, a penny stock company, its controlling shareholder, and a former officer, for alleged filing of false reports with the SEC and a fraudulent scheme to sell unregistered shares to the public. According to the SEC, an undisclosed control person orchestrated a scheme to fraudulently obtain Defendant company’s shares and sell them in unregistered transactions. The SEC further alleges that Defendant control person fraudulently induced a transfer agent to remove the restrictive legend ... Continue Reading

In re Steven J. Muehler, et al. (C.D. Cal. Feb. 28, 2018, Contested)

Action against Defendants, three companies, their co-owners, and their associate, in connection with the alleged operation of an unregistered broker-dealer and facilitating an unregistered securities offering. According to the SEC, Defendants acted as broker-dealers and promised to help small businesses raise money from investors while making fraudulent misrepresentations that they had previously helped customers raise large sums of money, that their online exchange was registered with the SEC, and overstating their cash on hand to ... Continue Reading

SEC v. AmeraTex Energy Inc., et al. (E.D. Tex. Feb. 28, 2018, Contested)

Action against Defendants, three oil and gas companies and their principals, an accountant, and a compliance coordinator, in connection with an alleged offering fraud for oil drilling and operations projects. According to the SEC, Defendant companies and principals sold unregistered securities and made misleading statements to investors concerning the use of investor proceeds. The SEC further alleges that Defendant principals employed services to suppress internet search results that would otherwise have cautioned potential investors about ... Continue Reading

SEC v. Yang Xie (D.N.J. Feb. 28, 2018, Settled)

Action against Defendant, a pharmaceutical company employee, for buying stock in a company his employer was preparing to acquire while in possession of information regarding the proposed acquisition, which he received from a legal memo advising him not to trade in the target’s stock.  Defendant has agreed to pay disgorgement of $2,287, prejudgment interest, and a civil penalty of $6,681.

SEC Litigation Release

SEC Complaint ... Continue Reading

In re Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. (A.P. Feb. 28, 2018, Settled)

Action against Respondent, a broker-dealer and investment adviser, for allegedly disadvantaging certain customers by failing to determine that they were eligible for a less expensive share class, and recommending and selling them more expensive share classes in certain mutual funds when less expensive share classes were available.  Respondent has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $230,000.

SEC Press Release ... Continue Reading

SEC v. Dedicated Sound and Audio, Inc., et al. (C.D. Cal. Feb. 26, 2018, Settled)

Action against Defendants, an audio manufacturer, its founder, president, and CEO, a telemarketer retained by Defendant company, and the telemarketer’s control person, in connection with an alleged fraudulent offering of unregistered securities. According to the SEC, Defendants told investors in the unregistered offering that Defendant manufacturer would pay no more than 15% of the amount raised in sales commissions to registered broker-dealers, but paid approximately 33% to Defendant telemarketer and Defendant control person, neither of ... Continue Reading

In re Steven Zoernack, et al. (A.P. Feb. 26, 2018, Settled)

Action against Respondents, an unregistered investment adviser and its sole owner and employee, in connection with the alleged offer and sale of interests in two unregistered investment funds. According to the SEC, Respondents made material misrepresentations and omissions regarding Respondent owner’s criminal background and status as fund manager, provided false and misleading data regarding one of the funds, and created and distributed false and misleading investment marketing materials. The SEC also alleges that Respondents withdrew ... Continue Reading

SEC v. Jon E. Montroll, et al. (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 21, 2018, Contested)

Action against Defendants, a former Bitcoin-denominated platform and its operator, for alleged operation of an unregistered securities exchange and defrauding users of that exchange. According to the SEC, Defendants also misappropriated users’ Bitcoins for personal expenses and failed to disclose a cyberattack on the platform that resulted in the theft of Bitcoins. Additionally, the SEC alleges that Defendant operator sold unregistered securities that were purported investments in the platform, misrepresenting that the platform was profitable ... Continue Reading

SEC v. Strong Investment Management, et al. (C.D. Cal. Feb. 21, 2018, Contested)

Action against Defendants, an investment advisory firm, its president and sole owner, and its former CCO in connection with an alleged “cherry picking” scheme.  According to the SEC, Defendant president traded securities in the firm’s account but delayed allocating the securities to specific client accounts until he had observed the securities’ performance over the course of the day, then allocating profitable trades to himself and unprofitable trades to Defendant firm’s clients.  The SEC further alleges ... Continue Reading

Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers (Feb. 21, 2018)

The Supreme Court held that the Dodd-Frank Act’s whistleblower anti-retaliation provisions only apply where a violation of the securities laws is reported to the SEC, and do not extend to situations in which the violation is reported only internally.  In so holding, the Court resolved a circuit split that had left uncertainty over the scope of the provisions.  Individuals who report to the SEC remain covered by the provisions, which allow immediate access to federal ... Continue Reading

SEC v. Sharone Perlstein, et al. (E.D.N.Y. Feb. 16, 2018, Settled)

Action against Defendants, three individuals, in connection with an alleged fraudulent scheme to create and sell public shell companies. According to the SEC, Defendants created shell companies by filing false and misleading registration statements and periodic reports, creating fake business plans, and appointing nominal officers and directors, who also acted as straw-man shareholders for the shell companies.  Defendants have agreed to pay, respectively, disgorgement and prejudgment interest totaling $1,656,121.18, disgorgement and prejudgment interest totaling $307,510.12, ... Continue Reading

In re Barry McKnight Skinner, et al. (A.P. Feb. 16, 2018, Settled)

Action against Respondents, a holding company and its president and sole director, for alleged false certification by Respondents that the holding company was not an affiliate of and did not own more than 10% of the stock of a third-party company (“Company A”) in connection with the conversion of Company A’s notes for sale. According to the SEC, Company A’s transfer agent relied on this certification in removing the restrictive legend from the converted stock, ... Continue Reading

SEC v. Alan Weinberg, et al. (D.D.C. Feb. 16, 2018, Settled)

Action against Defendants, an accountant and his firm, for alleged issuance of misleading audit reports in connection with a fraudulent scheme to create and sell shell companies.  According to the SEC, Defendants issued audit reports falsely asserting that audits of shell companies had been performed according to PCAOB standards, despite audit failures and red flags that they were enabling a fraud.  Defendants agreed to pay, jointly and severally, disgorgement and prejudgment interest in the amount ... Continue Reading

LexBlog