Halliburton, which profited by approximately $14 million from the deals, has agreed to pay more than $29.2 million to settle the SEC’s case. The company also agreed to obtain an independent compliance consultant to oversee its anti-corruption policies and procedures in Africa. Halliburton’s former vice president Jeannot Lorenz has agreed to pay a $75,000 penalty for causing the company’s violations, circumventing internal accounting controls, and falsifying books and records.
On July 31, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced that on July 28, 2017, an Illinois federal court entered a final judgment against Defendant Stephen Ferrone following an April 2016 jury verdict in the Commission’s favor. The final judgment prohibits Stephen Ferrone, retroactively to July 24, 2016, from serving as an officer or director of a public company for a period of three (3) years. The final judgment also requires Stephen Ferrone to pay a $120,000 civil penalty.
The Commission charged Stephen Ferrone and other defendants in August 2011, alleging, among other things, that Stephen Ferrone made materially false and misleading statements during 2007-2010 regarding the status of regulatory approvals for Immunosyn’s sole product, a drug referred to as “SF-1019.” The Commission’s complaint alleged that Stephen Ferrone falsely stated in public filings with the Commission and in other presentations that Argyll Biotechnologies, LLC, Immunosyn’s controlling shareholder, planned to commence the regulatory approval process for human clinical trials for SF-1019 in the U.S. or that the regulatory approval process was underway. The complaint alleged that these statements deceived investors because the statements failed to disclose that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had issued clinical holds on drug applications for SF-1019, which prohibited clinical trials involving SF-1019 from occurring. Read More
On July 27, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) charged Halliburton Company with violating the books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) while selecting and making payments to a local company in Angola in the course of winning lucrative oilfield services contracts.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced the temporary suspension of trading in the securities of Medicus Homecare Inc. (MDCR) commencing at 9:30 a.m. EDT on July 28, 2017 and terminating at 11:59 p.m. EDT on August 10, 2017.
The Commission temporarily suspended trading in the securities of Medicus Homecare due to a lack of current and accurate information about the company because it has not filed certain periodic reports with the Commission. Read More
On July 28, 2017, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced the temporary suspension of trading in the securities of CNK Global, Inc. (a/k/a American Life Holding Co., Inc.) (ALFE) commencing at 9:30 a.m. EDT on July 28, 2017, and terminating at 11:59 p.m. EDT on August 10, 2017.
The Commission temporarily suspended trading in the securities of the CNK Global due to a lack of current and accurate information about the company because it has not filed certain periodic reports with the Commission. This order was entered pursuant to Section 12(k) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act). Read More
On July 26, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced fraud charges against Joey Dodson, the founder of a collection of businesses known as Citadel Energy, which provided fluid management solutions to the oil and gas industry in North Dakota.
According to the SEC’s complaint, from approximately November 2012 through December 2014, Joey Dodson, of Porter Ranch, California, made numerous material misstatements and statements that were materially misleading as a result of omissions to investors. As described in the complaint, Joey Dodson misled investors regarding, among other things, his compensation arrangements, the intended use of investor proceeds, the status of an important land lease agreement, the ownership of certain assets or income streams, and prior litigation against himself. The SEC alleges that, most significantly, Dodson commingled funds among three ventures funded by separate investor groups and then misappropriated at least $1.7 million from investors for his personal benefit, including for large cash payments to himself and his family members, Ponzi-like payments to prior investors in unrelated projects, casino vacations, lease payments for a BMW automobile, and psychic readings and spiritual products. As a result of Dodson’s alleged misconduct, approximately 50 investors suffered substantial, and in some cases total, losses. Read More
On July 25, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced an award of nearly $2.5 million to an employee of a domestic government agency whose whistleblower tip helped launch an SEC investigation and whose continued assistance enabled the SEC to address a company’s misconduct.
”Whistleblowers can provide a wealth of information and ongoing assistance that helps our agency bring enforcement actions quicker and more efficiently,” said Jane Norberg, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. ”This whistleblower not only helped us open the case, but also provided timely ongoing assistance along with critical documents and testimony that accelerated the pace of our enforcement action.”
On June 12, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced that it has obtained a final judgment against Ascenergy LLC, Joseph Gabaldon, and Alanah Energy, LLC.
The SEC’s complaint alleges that, since at least 2014, Ascenergy and Gabaldon engaged in a deceptive scheme on crowdfunding websites and the company’s website to solicit investors to purchase overriding royalty interests in five initial, undeveloped oil and gas wells. According to the complaint, Ascenergy raised approximately $5 million from approximately 90 investors worldwide. The complaint alleges that Ascenergy and Gabaldon made multiple, material misrepresentations about the company, the nature of the offering, and the use of investor funds. The SEC also alleges that Alanah and Pyckl LLC – both of whom have been charged as relief defendants – have received, possessed, or benefited from investor funds. Read More
On July 21, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced that it has filed a subpoena enforcement action against Andrew Coldicutt and the Law Offices of Andrew Coldicutt.
According to the SEC’s application and supporting papers, filed on July 20, 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the SEC is investigating, among other things, whether Coldicutt, or others associated with Green Cures & Botanical Distribution, Inc., which is quoted on OTC Link under the ticker symbol “GRCU,” may have engaged in antifraud violations. The SEC’s court filings also state that Coldicutt and others may have prepared and filed documents, including quarterly and annual reports and attorney letters, which contain false and misleading public statements about GRCU’s management and the existence and identity of control persons. Read More
On June 7, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced fraud charges against Michael Trahan for insider trading in the securities of The Shaw Group, Inc. (Shaw), a Louisiana-based energy construction company, ahead of a public announcement that Shaw was going to be acquired by Chicago Bridge & Iron Company N.V. (CBI).
The SEC’s complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, alleges that during July 2012, while Michael Trahan was a consultant to Shaw, a Shaw employee told Trahan about the impending Shaw merger. The SEC also alleges that Trahan’s company, Petra Consultants, Inc., was bound by an agreement with Shaw that required Petra and Michael Trahan to keep information received from Shaw confidential and not to use such information for any purpose except in the context of the consulting arrangement. The SEC further alleges that the same day the Shaw employee told Trahan about the impending merger, Michael Trahan bought 5,600 shares of Shaw common stock. The SEC alleges that this purchase represented approximately 86% of the cash in Trahan’s account and approximately 73% of the total account value. The SEC further alleges that Trahan sold the stock shortly after the announcement of the acquisition for a profit of $69,735. Read More
On July 19, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced fraud charges against Flowers and Nevett, two California men, and a company behind an alleged scheme to manipulate the stock prices of two shell companies.
The SEC alleges that Troy Flowers and his partner Sean Nevett illegally concealed their control and ownership of Licont Corp. and Artec Global Media by using multiple accounts that they controlled in the names of other people and entities. They then allegedly created the false appearance of active trading by making manipulative trades from those accounts to inflate the stock prices. According to the SEC’s complaint, Flowers and Nevett subsequently dumped their own shares into the open market at the expense of innocent investors, who were left with stock that is virtually worthless. Read More