Showing posts with the label SEC Press Release

SEC Press Release: SEC Charges Florida Payday Lender and CEO with Affinity Fraud Targeting the Venezuelan-American Community.

 Source: 4 minutes Washington D.C., Sept. 27, 2021 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against Sky Group USA LLC, a payday loan company based in Miami, and its CEO, Efrain Betancourt, Jr., for fraudulently raising at least $66 million through the sale of promissory notes to more than 500 retail investors, including members of the South Florida Venezuelan-American community. According to the SEC's complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Sky Group and Betancourt falsely told investors that Sky Group would use investors' money solely to make payday loans and cover the costs of such loans, when, in reality, Betancourt misappropriated at least $2.9 million for personal use – including for his lavish wedding at a chateau on the French Riviera, vacations to Disney resorts and the Caribbean, costs associated with the purchase

Online Marketers Charged With Conning Main Street Investors Through Rags-to-Riches Infomercials: SEC Press Release I SEC SEC Issues Video Warning to Investors Washington D.C., Sept. 27, 2018 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a group of internet marketers who allegedly created and disseminated elaborate rags-to-riches videos to trick retirees and other retail investors into opening brokerage accounts and trading high-risk securities known as binary options . According to the SEC’s complaints, investors were conned out of tens of millions of dollars through these marketing campaigns, which promised that investors would make large amounts of money by opening binary options accounts and using free or secret software systems to trade in them. The SEC alleges that the marketers were paid for each new brokerage account that investors opened and funded. According to the complaints, the marketers’ internet video advertisements, which were disseminated through spam emails, used actors to portra

Petrobras Reaches Settlement With SEC for Misleading Investors I SEC Press Release Washington D.C., Sept. 27, 2018 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Brazilian oil-and-gas company Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. with misleading U.S. investors by filing false financial statements that concealed a massive bribery and bid-rigging scheme at the company.  The U.S. Department of Justice also announced today a non-prosecution agreement with Petrobras. The SEC’s order finds that senior Petrobras executives worked with Petrobras’s largest contractors and suppliers to inflate the cost of Petrobras’s infrastructure projects by billions of dollars.  The companies executing those projects paid billions in kickbacks to the Petrobras executives, who shared the illegal payments with Brazilian politicians who helped them obtain their high-level positions at Petrobras.  Petrobras erroneously recorded these payments as money spent to acquire and improve assets, resulting in an estimated $

SEC Charges Microcap Fraudsters for Roles in Lucrative Market Manipulation Schemes I SEC Press Release Washington D.C., Sept. 7, 2018 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a group of 10 individuals and 10 associated entities for their participation in long-running fraudulent schemes that generated over $27 million from unlawful stock sales and caused significant harm to retail investors who were left holding virtually worthless stock. According to the SEC’s complaint, from 2013 to 2018, a group of prolific South Florida-based microcap fraudsters led by Barry Honig manipulated the share price of the stock of three companies in classic pump-and-dump schemes. Miami biotech billionaire Phillip Frost allegedly participated in two of these three schemes. Honig allegedly orchestrated the acquisition of large quantities of the issuer’s stock at steep discounts, and after securing a substantial ownership interest in the companies, Honig and his associates engaged in illegal promotional activity and manipulative trading to ar

Sanofi Charged With FCPA Violations: SEC Press Release Washington D.C., Sept. 4, 2018 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Paris-based pharmaceutical company Sanofi has agreed to pay more than $25 million to resolve charges that its Kazakhstan and the Middle East subsidiaries made corrupt payments to win business. According to the SEC’s order, the schemes spanned multiple countries and involved bribe payments to government procurement officials and healthcare providers in order to be awarded tenders and to increase prescriptions of its products. In Kazakhstan, distributors were used as part of a kickback scheme to generate funds from which bribes were paid to officials to ensure that Sanofi was awarded tenders at public institutions. The kickbacks were tracked in internal spreadsheets where they were coded as “marzipans.” In the Middle East, various pay-to-prescribe schemes were used to induce healthcare providers to i

Fee Rate Advisory #1 for Fiscal Year 2019 I SEC Washington D.C., Aug. 24, 2018 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that in fiscal year 2019 the fees that public companies and other issuers pay to register their securities with the Commission will be set at $121.20 per million dollars. The securities laws require the Commission to make annual adjustments to the rates for fees paid under Section 6(b) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Sections 13(e) and 14(g) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The Commission must set rates for the fees paid under Section 6(b) to levels that the Commission projects will generate collections equal to annual statutory target amounts. The Commission’s projections are calculated using a methodology developed in consultation with the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management and Budget. The statutory target amount for fiscal year 2019 is $660 million.  The annual adjus

SEC Charges Failed Fyre Festival Founder and Others With $27.4 Million Offering Fraud I SEC Press Release. SEC Charges Failed Fyre Festival Founder and Others With $27.4 Million Offering Fraud The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that New York entrepreneur William Z. (Billy) McFarland, two companies he founded, a former senior executive, and a former contractor agreed to settle charges arising out of an extensive, multi-year offering fraud that raised at least $27.4 million from over 100 investors. The SEC’s complaint alleges that McFarland fraudulently induced investments into his companies Fyre Media, Inc., Fyre Festival LLC, and Magnises, Inc., including in connection with McFarland’s failed venture to host a “once-in-a-lifetime” music festival in the Bahamas. With substantial assistance from Grant H. Margolin, his Chief Marketing Officer, and Daniel Simon, an independent contractor to his companies, McFarland induced investors to entrust him with tens of millions of dollars by fraudulently inflating key op

SEC Press Release - March 5, 2018.

Image Jersey Consulting LLC (Release No. LR-24064; Mar. 5, 2018) The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against a Utah-based company, its principal, and several solicitors of the company's securities in an ongoing offering fraud that has already targeted more than 80 individual investors. The SEC's complaint, filed in federal district court in Salt Lake City, Utah, alleges that, since September 2014, Marc Andrew Tager of Utah and his company, Jersey Consulting LLC, have engaged in the fraudulent offering of unregistered Jersey securities and employed paid telemarketers to raise at least $6 million from investors located across the U.S. None of the telemarketers-Suzanne Aileen Gagnier, Kenneth Stephen Gross, Jeffrey Rowland Lebarton, and Jonathan Edward Shoucair-are registered to sell securities. According to the complaint, Jersey investors were promised extraordinary returns of 100% or more within 12 months from

SEC Press Release - February 28, 2018: SEC Files Charges Seeking to Halt Recidivist and Associates in Scheme to Defraud Small Businesses. SEC Files Charges Seeking to Halt Recidivist and Associates in Scheme to Defraud Small Businesses Washington D.C., Feb. 28, 2018 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged three-time recidivist Steven J. Muehler with operating an unregistered broker-dealer, facilitating an unregistered securities offering, and defrauding small businesses, while promising to help them raise money from investors.  Three companies under Muehler’s control, Muehler’s wife, Claudia M. Muehler, and his associate, Koorosh “Danny” Rahimi, were also charged.  Because the scheme is ongoing, the SEC is also seeking a preliminary injunction to stop Muehler’s ongoing violations of the securities laws, pending trial of the action. The SEC’s complaint, which was filed in federal court in Los Angeles, also charges Muehler with violating a cease-and-desist order issued by the Commission in 2016 barring Mueh

SEC Announces 2015 Examination Priorities: SEC Press Release - January 13, 2015.

SEC Announces 2015 Examination Priorities 01/13/2015 11:30 AM EST The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced its Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations’ (OCIE) priorities for 2015 which focus on three areas: protecting retail investors, especially those saving for or in retirement; assessing market-wide risks; and using data analytics to identify signs of potential illegal activity. “Our examination program collects information for the Commission on a range of important trends, issues, and risks,” said SEC Chair Mary Jo White. “OCIE helps us to maintain a strong presence with SEC registrants and to make a positive impact for the benefit of investors and our markets.” “We share our annual examination priorities to promote compliance,” said Andrew J. Bowden, OCIE’s Director.  “We have observed that when we share our areas of focus, many industry participants independently review their controls in the areas we have identified.” The 2015 examination priori

SEC Press Release - December 10, 2014: Names Karol Pollock to Lead Exam Program in Los Angeles Office

SEC Names Karol Pollock to Lead Exam Program in Los Angeles Office 12/10/2014 02:30 PM EST The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Karol L.K. Pollock has been named the new leader of the examination program in the Los Angeles Regional Office. Ms. Pollock has nearly 25 years of experience in securities enforcement and examination regulation at the SEC, FINRA, and New Mexico Securities Division as well as in the private sector.  She has worked in the SEC’s Los Angeles office for the past 10 years, starting as a staff attorney in the Enforcement Division and later serving as a branch chief.  In 2009, she became Assistant Director of the exam program, and was named Deputy Associate Director last year. In her new role as Associate Director of the exam program in the Los Angeles office, Ms. Pollock will oversee a staff of approximately 60 examiners, accountants, and attorneys responsible for examining firms in Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, an