Crucible Capital and Chuck Moore Indicted for Obstructing SEC Investigation
On August 9, 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) announced charges against Chuck Moore and Crucible Capital Group, a New York-based brokerage firm for allegedly violating net capital requirements and falsifying books and records to conceal the capital deficiencies. The SEC’s Division of Enforcement alleges that Charles “Chuck” Moore and Crucible Capital Group attempted to disguise the firm’s extensive and repeated net capital insufficiencies.
According to the charges, Moore was improperly off-loading Crucible’s liabilities onto the books of an affiliated firm and improperly treating non-marketable stock as an allowable asset. Moore went so far as to try to hide Crucible’s true financial condition from SEC examiners by providing them doctored invoices that sought to mask the extent of those liabilities. But SEC examiners and investigators successfully detected that the documents had been fabricated, and referred the matter to criminal authorities for prosecution.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced criminal charges against Moore for obstructing the SEC’s examination.
“Moore attempted to mislead SEC examiners by giving them documents he intentionally falsified in an effort to hide Crucible’s severe capital insufficiencies,” said Andrew Ceresney, director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to pursue parties that try to obstruct or delay the SEC’s critical work in overseeing broker-dealers and other regulated entities.”
According to the SEC’s order instituting administrative proceedings against Crucible and Moore, Crucible entered into an expense-sharing agreement with another firm called Angelic Holdings that also was wholly owned by Moore. Under the agreement, Angelic was obligated to pay Crucible’s expenses, so Moore had Crucible’s vendors bill Angelic for the services they performed for Crucible. When SEC examiners asked for documents concerning Angelic’s liabilities, Moore arranged to provide the examiners with copies of invoices that had been doctored to eliminate significant past due amounts.
The SEC’s Division of Enforcement alleges that Moore knew that the expense-sharing agreement was illegitimate because Angelic did not have the resources to pay the debts to the vendors. And Moore knew that if those liabilities were properly attributed to Crucible, then SEC examiners would learn that Crucible had failed to meet its required minimum net capital over a 10-month period from December 2012 to September 2013
“The net capital rule is a principal tool by which the SEC monitors the financial health of brokerage firms,” said Amelia A. Cottrell, an associate director in the SEC’s New York Regional Office. “It is therefore crucial that SEC examiners have prompt access to accurate and complete information about a firm’s financial condition.”
The SEC’s Division of Enforcement alleges that Crucible violated the net capital rule: Section 15(c)(3) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 15c3-1. Crucible also allegedly violated Section 17(a)(1) of the Exchange Act and Rules 17a-3(a)(11), 17a-4(b)(3), 17a-4(j),17a-5(a), and 17a-11(b)(1) by failing to maintain and keep accurate records of its aggregate indebtedness and net capital, notify the SEC of its net capital deficiency, file accurate Financial and Operational Combined Uniform Single (FOCUS) reports, and provide the examiners with accurate copies of records evidencing its expenses. Moore is alleged to have aided and abetted and caused each of these violations. The administrative proceedings will determine what, if any, remedial action or financial penalties are appropriate in the public interest against Crucible and Moore.
For further information about this securities law blog post, please contact Brenda Hamilton, Securities Attorney at 101 Plaza Real S, Suite 202 N, Boca Raton, Florida, (561) 416-8956, by email at [email protected] or visit www.securitieslawyer101.com. This securities law blog post is provided as a general informational service to clients and friends of Hamilton & Associates Law Group and should not be construed as, and does not constitute, legal and compliance advice on any specific matter, nor does this message create an attorney-client relationship. Please note that the prior results discussed herein do not guarantee similar outcomes.
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