SEC Charges Attorney Ben Bunker with Fraudulent Scheme
On January 23, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a cease and desist order against attorney Ben Bunker (Benjamin L. Bunker). Bunker is a 42 year old lawyer based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Bunker was working for two individuals using the company Greenway Design Group, Inc. to perpetrate a scheme where they placed Greenway shares into a brokerage account, promoted the shares so that the stock price would rise artificially and then sell the shares back into the market. Bunker’s role was to prepare false opinion letters necessary for the two individuals to obtain stock certificates, transfer them, and then later sell them to the public.
As the SEC summarizes in its order, “These proceedings arise out of a fraudulent scheme to place shares of the common stock of Greenway Design Group, Inc. (“Greenway”) into brokerage accounts, orchestrate a promotional campaign, and sell the shares into the artificially inflated market. From October 2014 to December 2016, Respondent Benjamin L. Bunker prepared false and misleading opinion letters necessary for two individuals (“Clients”) to (1) obtain stock certificates for their shares of Greenway common stock from the company’s transfer agent, (2) deposit them into their accounts at a brokerage firm, and (3) sell them to the public during the promotional campaign. The Clients were Greenway’s undisclosed control person (“UCP”), who used a nominee (“Nominee”) for his stock sales, and the undisclosed control person’s colleague (“Colleague”) who helped him run Greenway at his direction. In order to sell their shares, the Nominee and the Colleague had to either file a registration statement with the Commission or meet one of the exceptions to the registration requirement under Section 5 of the Securities Act. In his letters, Bunker opined that the Nominee’s and the Colleague’s anticipated stock sales met one of the exceptions, but they did not, and Bunker knew that these statements in the opinion letters were false and misleading.”
Bunker and the SEC have agreed to settle and the SEC has imposed the following penalties: Bunker must not violate the Securities and Exchange Act in the future; he is denied the privilege of appearing or practicing before the SEC as an attorney; and he shall pay disgorgement of $1,800 and prejudgment interest of $250. Seems like a pretty light penalty.
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