U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 21104 / June 24, 2009
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Michael J. Muzio, Civil Action No. 09-80581 (S.D. Fla. filed April 15, 2009)
SEC Charges Tampa, Florida Resident In Connection With Fraudulent Pump and Dump Scheme
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil injunctive action on April 15, 2009 against Michael J. Muzio alleging that he was involved in a fraudulent pump-and-dump scheme to manipulate the public trading market for International Business Ventures Group, Inc. ("IBVG") stock in violation of the federal securities laws. Previously, on March 6, 2009, the SEC temporarily suspended trading in the securities of IBVG, a Palm Beach Gardens, Florida-based company.
The SEC's complaint alleges that Muzio obtained control of IBVG, a public shell, in August 2008 and undertook a number of steps to fraudulently increase the price of the company's stock. In particular, the complaint alleges that Muzio drafted and caused IBVG to issue materially false and misleading press releases, arranged for the publication of research and analyst reports that touted the company's stock, and regularly bought and sold the company's stock through accounts he controlled at various broker-dealers.
The SEC's complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, charges Muzio with violating Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The SEC seeks a permanent injunction, disgorgement and civil money penalties against Muzio.
Separately, on April 14, 2009, the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida filed an indictment charging Muzio with securities and wire fraud as well as making false statements to the SEC and Federal Bureau of Investigation in connection with their investigations.
The staff's investigation is continuing.