U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 19970 / January 17, 2007
SEC v. John R. Shrewder, The Franklin Group, Inc., Ashley Miron Leshem, and Ananda Capital Partners, Inc., No. 06-80126-Civ-Ryskamp (USDC S.D. Fla.)
On January 12, 2007, Judge Kenneth Ryskamp of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida entered final judgments by consent against all defendants in the Commission's case: John R. "Jay" Shrewder, 46, of Tulsa, Oklahoma; The Franklin Group (TFG), a company that Shrewder founded; Ashley Miron Leshem, 39, of Boca Raton, Florida; and Relief Defendant Ananda Capital Partners.
The Commission charged Shrewder and TFG with securities fraud and illegal touting, and Leshem with violations of an SEC Penny Stock Bar. According to the SEC's complaint, this action arose out of promotional campaigns that inundated the public with millions of faxes concerning certain over-the-counter stocks, including ArTec, Inc. (symbol ATKJ) and Sequoia Interests Corp. (symbol SQNC).
Without admitting or denying the allegations of the Commission's complaint, Shrewder and The Franklin Group consented to the entry of final judgments that permanently enjoin them from future violations of Sections 17(a) and 17(b) of the Securities Act and Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 of the Exchange Act. In addition, Shrewder has consented to the entry of judicial Penny Stock Bar. Shrewder and TFG acknowledged joint and several liability for disgorgement of $908,000 in trading profits plus pre-judgment interest of $123,000. All but $150,000 of Shrewder's and TFG's disgorgement and interest obligations were waived, and no penalty imposed, based on their financial condition.
Without admitting or denying the allegations of the Commission's complaint, Leshem consented to a judicial Penny Stock Bar and a permanent injunction from future violations of Section 15(b)(6)(B)(i) of the Exchange Act. Defendant Leshem and Relief Defendant Ananda Capital Partners agreed to pay, jointly and severally, disgorgement of $81,000 and pre-judgment interest of $10,700. In addition, Leshem consented to the imposition of a $7,500 penalty and to the cancellation of 110,000 of shares of ArTec, Inc.
The Commission has issued an Investor Alert concerning investment related faxes. This alert is available on the Commission's website at the following location: http://www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/junkfax.htm.
The Commission's investigation concerning ArTec, Inc. and other entities organized by a shell-creation group is continuing. The staff wishes to thank the NASD for its assistance in this investigation.