Vlad Spivnak Charged with Insider Trading

SEC Defense
The SEC has announced charges against Vlad Spivnak for insider trading in the stock of American Dental Partners, Inc. (ADPI), a dental practice management company. The complaint alleges that Spivnak received the private information from his girlfriend at the time, Shirmila Doddi, who was a financial analyst at a commercial bank. After acquiring the confidential information from Doddi, Spivnak is alleged to have traded in the securities of ADPI, based on the tips provided by Doddi. The SEC claims that Doddi obtained the material, private information throughout her employment regarding an impending acquisition of ADPI by a private equity firm. Read More

William Apostelos and His Companies Charged with Fraud

Securities Attorneys -Fraudulent OfferingsThe SEC released charges on October 30, 2015 alleging that William Apostelos and his companies, WMA Enterprises, Midwest Green Resources, and OVO Wealth Management conducted a fraudulent investment scheme. The complaint claims that the companies raised at least $66.7 million from about 350 investors since January of 2010.

The SEC claims that throughout the scheme, Apostelos knowingly made multiple misrepresentations to recruit prospective investors, including clients of OVO, a state-registered investment adviser.  Apostelos told certain investors that their investment funds would be pooled with funds from other investors and invested in stock, precious metals, real estate, or used to make short-term loans at high interest rates to small businesses and farmers, with returns being generated by the underlying investments.  He told other investors that he would place their funds in a pooled brokerage account and invest them in publicly traded stocks, bonds, and options. Read More

Diverse Financial and Principals Charged with Fraud

Bank Analyst Charged With Insider TradingThe SEC filed fraud charges against Diverse Financial Corporation, its CEO, Roy Dekel, and its former President David Kendell on October 28, 2015. The complaint claims that the defendants raised about $3.29 million from at least 16 investors through their fraudulent offer and promissory notes that were issued by DF Capital Partners, LLC, which is a bankrupt subsidiary of Diverse Financial. According to the complaint, the defendants lied about their use of the investors funds, saying that their funds would be used only to invest in premium finance lending, where loans are made to borrowers to pay premiums on their life insurance policies, or “short-term cash type investments,” pending such investments. In reality, alleged by the SEC, the company and its CEO diverted the money to pay for the company’s financial operations.  Read More

SEC Obtains Asset Freeze Over Joseph Gabalon

Registration Statements - Securities Lawyer 101The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a civil action against defendants Ascenergy LLC and its CEO, Joseph Gabaldon for offering fraudulent oil and gas investments. At the request of the SEC, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada has entered a temporary restraining order halting the offering, as well as an order for an asset freeze for the defendants and the relief defendants, Alanah Energy, LLC and Pyckl, LLC.

The SEC’s complaint claims that since at least 2014, the defendants have been involved in a scheme on crowdfunding websites and the company’s website to solicit investors to buy overriding royalty interests in undeveloped oil and gas wells. According to the complaint, Ascenergy has accumulated about $5 million from approximately 90 investors. Ascenergy has already spent at least $1.2 million of the offering proceeds, but it seems that only a few thousand dollars of the proceeds have been used for expenses relative to oil and gas. Read More

Rebecca Norton Insider Trading Settlement Approved

Securities FraudThe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that, on October 27, 2015, the United States District Court for the District of Arizona entered a settled final judgment against Rebecca Norton, the remaining defendant in SEC v. Mary Beth Knight and Rebecca Norton, Civ. 2:11-cv-00973 (DGC) (D. Ariz.). Norton agreed to entry of the final judgment, without admitting or denying the SEC’s claims in that action. The SEC’s complaint claimed that in 2006, Norton was involved in insider trading in the securities of Choice Hotels International, Inc. Read More

Brown Investment Advisors Charged with Operating Three Offering Frauds

Insider TradingA settled civil injunctive action was filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against two Pennsylvania investment advisers, Kevin Brown and his father, George Brown, (collectively, the “Browns”), and several entities they managed, for conducting three offering frauds over the last decade. The unregistered offerings were in correlation with securities that were issued by a Nevada-chartered trust company, Summit Trust Company (“STC”), the Rampart Fund LP (“Rampart Fund”), a private fund managed by the Browns, and Trust Counselors Network, Inc. (“TCN”), a non-profit charitable organization.

The SEC alleges that between 2008 and 2014, the Browns accumulated over $33 million from over 150 investors in multiple states through the offering of STC’s preferred stock while insinuating that the proceeds would be used for business expansion and acquisitions. Instead, STC and the Browns allegedly used most of the proceeds to make Ponzi-like payments to existing preferred stock shareholders, to pay for obligations and expenses of the Browns’ other affiliated entities, and for undisclosed speculative investments. Read More

John Williams Charged with Conducting Misappropriation Scheme and Offering Fraud

SEC Defense Attorneys - Insider TradingOn October 20, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged John Clifford Williams with his involvement in a misappropriation scheme. The complaint alleges that Williams misappropriated and diverted more than $3.1 million illicit funds that he accumulated from an investor in the course of securities offerings. According to the complaint, Williams took advantage of the investor’s trust and repeatedly solicited and gained illicit earnings that were based on the implication that the money would be used only for specific investments.

The SEC’s allegation states that between February 2009 and May 2014, Williams raised more than $8.1 million from the investor, including at least $2.6 million for Energy Operations Trust (“Energy Operations”), which Williams established to offer revenues derived from gold and manganese mines located in Central America, and $5.5 million for American Hydraulic Power, LLC (“AHP”), which Williams founded to develop and commercialize an energy efficient technology licensed from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Read More

Court Reaches Final Judgement of Disgorgement and Civil Penalties Against Stock Fraudsters

SEC Charges Microcap Stock PromotersThe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced on October 26, 2015 that on October 23, 2015, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York entered a final judgment against two fraudsters, Joseph Catapano and Michael Piervinanzi, for their involvement in a broker bribery scheme that was constructed to manipulate the market for the common stock of Euro Solar Parks, Inc.

The SEC’s complaint claims that Catapano and Piervinanzi conducted an undisclosed kickback arrangement with someone who claimed to represent a group of registered representatives with trading discretion over the accounts of wealthy customers.  Catapano and Piervinanzi promised to pay a 30% kickback in exchange for buying up to $3 million of Euro Solar stock through the customers’ accounts. Read More

Why Operation Shell Expel Gets an F

Operation Shell Expel

Between January of 2000 and present, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) has suspended or halted thousands of publicly traded companies under its highly publicized agenda known as Operation shell Expel.  Many were dormant penny stock issuers suspended to prevent corporate hijackings by fraudsters setting up receivership or custodianship shells.  Others were penny stock issuers engaged in massive pump and dump schemes.  Some of the suspended companies had been dormant for almost a decade.  How did all of these dormant companies manage to continue trading, albeit infrequently, for so long?

Recent cases reflect that many of these shells are under the control of  jammed up government informants (including lawyers) with sealed dockets.  Could there be any other explanation for why the SEC and FBI have taken no action against these participants for their obvious violations of the securities laws? Nevada state court judges have expressed outrage at the practice of creating shells using fraudulent custodianship proceedings and made referrals to the Justice Department, yet the SEC has failed to take any action against the fraudsters involved — many of which have profited handsomely from their illegal activity. Similar inaction on the part of regulators was demonstrated in the recent SEC case against Guy M. Jean Pierre. It was only after the Florida Bar proceeded in a grievance against Jean Pierre surrounding his forgery of hundreds of legal opinions for shell companies, that the SEC pursued that matter.    It is unfathomable that an attorney would be found to have forged hundreds of opinions covering billions of shares of stock yet not be criminally charged.

What the SEC fails to tell the public is that many of the shells they are suspending were put into the market place by government informants.

Read More

Settlement Reached in Vladimir Eydelman Insider Trading Case

Insider Trading - Securities AttorneysOn October 23, 2015 the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced a settlement with a stockbroker who was previously charged with insider trading in advance of over a dozen pending corporate transactions. These charges found Vladimir Eydelman guilty of insider trading and claims that he passed illegal tips using napkins and post-it notes at Grand Central Terminal.

Last year, the SEC charged Eydelman, a former stockbroker employed by Oppenheimer & Co. and later by Morgan Stanley, in a scheme involving insider trading of nonpublic information acquired by Steven Metro, a law firm employee, regarding pending corporate transactions involving clients of the firm. Metro supposedly passed the information to Eydelman through a mutual friend, Frank Tamayo, who settled a separate complaint. The SEC claimed that after getting the tips from Metro, Tamayo usually met Eydelman near the clock at the information booth at Grand Central Terminal and chewed up or ate post-it notes or napkins after using them to show Eydelman the ticker symbol of the company that would be acquired. Read More