Blog Posts Tagged With Ponzi Schemes, Offering Frauds, and Other Scams

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SEC v. Kirbyjon Hines Caldwell et al. (W.D. La. Mar. 29, 2018, Contested); SEC v. Shae Yatta Harper (W.D. La. Mar. 29, 2018, Settled)

Actions against Defendants, a pastor, a self-described financial planner, and an attorney, in connection with an alleged scheme to defraud investors by selling them interests in defunct, pre-Revolutionary Chinese bonds. According to the SEC, Defendants pastor and planner falsely stated that the bonds were worth millions of dollars to generate investment and then used investor funds for personal expenses. The SEC alleges that Defendant attorney aided and abetted the scheme by drafting participation agreements in ... Continue Reading

SEC v. Spark Trading Group LLC, et al. (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 12, 2018, Contested)

Emergency action against Defendants, a New Jersey company and its owner, in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme. According to the SEC, Defendant owner raised funds from investors by misrepresenting his success as a trader, how he intended to use investors’ money, and his company’s returns, including by altering financial statements to make the funds appear profitable. The SEC further alleges that Defendant owner misused investor money for his own benefit and that when investors ... Continue Reading

In re Robert Joseph Ritch (A.P. Mar. 9, 2018, Settled)

Action against Respondent, the principal of a purported investment fund, for alleged misrepresentations in connection with solicitations to potential investors. The SEC alleges that Respondent authorized inaccurate statements to potential investors on his website and blog regarding his investment management experience and his criminal history. Respondent has agreed to officer or director and penny stock bars and to pay a civil penalty of $50,000 and post-order interest.

SEC Order

SEC Press Release ... Continue Reading

SEC v. Americrude, et al. (N.D. Tex. Mar. 7, 2018, Partially Settled and Partially Contested)

Action against Defendants, an oil-and-gas company, its nominal president, and its effective principal, for allegedly making misleading statements in connection with fraudulent offerings and misappropriating investor funds. According to the SEC, Defendants lured investors into seven fraudulent offerings that purported to raise funds to acquire working interests in oil-and-gas prospects. The SEC also alleges that Defendants solicited investors without being registered as a broker-dealer and misappropriated more than $196,000 of investor funds. Americrude’s nominal president ... Continue Reading

In re Valor Capital Management, LLC and Robert Mark Magee (A.P. Mar. 6, 2018, Settled)

Action against Respondents, an investment management company and its principal, for an alleged “cherry-picking” scheme. The SEC alleges that Respondents disproportionately allocated profitable trades from the corporate Respondent’s omnibus trading account to the individual Respondent’s personal accounts, while disproportionately allocating unprofitable or less profitable trades to client accounts. Respondents have agreed to pay, jointly and severally, disgorgement of $505,663 and prejudgment interest of $50,208.57.

SEC Order

SEC Press Release ... Continue Reading

SEC v. Jeffrey O. Friedland, et al. (D. Colo. Mar. 5, 2018, Contested)

Action against Defendant, an investor, as well as his spouse and associated entities, for promoting an Israeli medical marijuana research company without disclosing the true nature of his relationship to the firm. The SEC alleges that Defendant did not disclose to investors that he was compensated in shares of the firm for media and investor relations efforts, and that he ultimately sold his shares for almost $7 million, which he used to fund independent investments ... Continue Reading

SEC v. Dennis J. Mancino, et al. (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 2, 2018, Contested)

Action against Defendants, two microcap companies, their principals, and associated persons and entities, for allegedly engaging in a pump-and-dump scheme in connection with microcap securities. The SEC alleges that Defendants discussed artificially inflating the companies’ stock with undercover FBI agents and agreed to generate press materials for the purpose of making misleading recommendations to potential investors. A parallel criminal proceeding has been initiated.

SEC Litigation Release 

SEC Press Release ... Continue Reading

SEC v. Beaufort Securities Ltd., et al. (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 2, 2018, Contested)

Action against Defendants, a broker-dealer and its investment manager, for allegedly engaging in a pump-and-dump scheme in connection with microcap securities. The SEC alleges that, among other things, Defendants discussed artificially inflating a home-security company’s stock with an undercover FBI agent. The SEC further alleges that Defendants opened trading accounts for undercover agents in order to facilitate the scheme. A parallel criminal proceeding has been initiated.

SEC Litigation Release

SEC Press Release ... Continue Reading

SEC v. Leonard Genova (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 1, 2018, Settled)

Action against Defendant, former town attorney and deputy supervisor of Oyster Bay, New York, for allegedly misleading investors in the town’s municipal securities offerings. Defendant allegedly hid the existence and potential impact of guarantee agreements that the town entered into with a business that owned restaurants and concessions at town facilities. Defendant has agreed to permanent injunctions against violating the charged securities laws or participating in any offerings of municipal securities, and the proposed settlement ... Continue Reading

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

Action against Defendants, the principal of a purported broker-dealer, his associates, and related entities, for allegedly operating an unregistered broker-dealer and for making misrepresentations to potential investors. The SEC alleges that Defendants agreed to provide broker-dealer services to more than 20 small businesses on a purported proprietary online exchange, made fraudulent claims to investors regarding their ability to invest in customers’ securities and prior successes, and concealed Defendant Muehler’s prior SEC and state regulator sanctions. ... 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. 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. Jersey Consulting, LLC, et al. (D. Utah Feb. 20, 2018, Contested)

Action against Defendants, a purported consulting company and its principal, for an alleged offering fraud involving commercially unviable “soil remediation” technology and a purported mineral claim. The SEC alleges that Defendants made misrepresentations in solicitations to investors and misappropriated investors’ funds to pay for personal expenses.

SEC Litigation Release ... 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

SEC v. Jonathan Strum (D.D.C. Feb. 16, 2018, Settled)

Action against Defendant, an attorney, for alleged assistance in aiding and abetting a fraudulent scheme to create and sell fraudulent shell companies.  According to the SEC, Defendant drafted false and misleading registration statements and periodic reports and signed fraudulent opinion letters.  Defendant has agreed to pay disgorgement and prejudgment interest totaling $33,010.89 and to a permanent bar.

SEC Litigation Release

SEC v. Perlstein, Linked Case ... Continue Reading

SEC v. Timothy S. Batchelor (N.D. Ga. Feb. 13, 2018, Contested)

Action against Defendant, the former principal of a defunct investment fund, for alleged failure to register with the SEC and misuse of investor funds. The SEC alleges that Defendant raised approximately $2.4 million from investors based on representations that their money would support the development of a portfolio of defense-related projects, including the development of a high-performance submarine. Instead, the SEC alleges that Defendant misappropriated most of investors’ funds for his personal use, for gifts ... Continue Reading

SEC v. American Bondholders Foundation, LLC (N.D. Ill. Feb. 8, 2018, Contested)

Subpoena enforcement action against Defendant, an entity created to offer and sell defaulted bonds issued by the Republic of China, the government superseded by the Chinese Communist Party in the 1940s. According to the SEC, Defendant failed to make complete productions in response to a subpoena issued in the course of a fact-finding investigation into fraud allegations relating to Defendant’s offerings.

SEC Litigation Release ... Continue Reading

SEC v. Nicholas J. Genovese, et al. (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 2, 2018, Contested)

Action against Defendants, a purported hedge fund manager and related entities, for alleged misrepresentations made in connection with raising more than $5.3 million from investors.  According to the SEC, Defendant Genovese made various inaccurate statements regarding his trading experience and professional qualifications to potential investors, failed to disclose his criminal history and prior bankruptcy, and misappropriated investors’ funds to trade in his personal brokerage account and for personal expenses.  Parallel criminal charges have been filed. ... Continue Reading

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