UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 22212 / December 29, 2011
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission v. Shawn R. Merriman et al., Civil Action No. 09-cv-00786-PAB (D. Colo.).
Judgment Entered Against Shawn R. Merriman Pursuant to Settlement
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that on December 23, 2011, the United States District Court for the District of Colorado in Denver entered judgment against Shawn R. Merriman. According to the Commission’s complaint, from 1994 to 2009, Merriman conducted a Ponzi scheme through entities under his control raising approximately $20 million. The complaint alleged that Merriman fraudulently represented to investors that he would invest their funds in stocks and options generating annual returns of 7 to 20%, when in fact he used investor funds to pay investor returns and to support his lavish lifestyle.
To resolve the Commission’s charges, without admitting or denying the allegations of the complaint, Merriman consented to the entry of a judgment enjoining him from violating Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and Sections 206(1), (2) and (4) of the Advisers Act of 1940 and Rule 206(4)-8 thereunder. The judgment further ordered Merriman liable for disgorgement of $20,124,183.13 which was deemed satisfied by the order of restitution entered on September 14, 2010 against Merriman in the related criminal case, U.S. v. Merriman, Case No. 09-cr-00369-MSK-01 (D. Colo.). The judgment did not impose a civil penalty in light of the criminal sanctions ordered against Merriman in the criminal case. Merriman is currently serving a sentence of imprisonment of 151 months after pleading guilty to one count of mail fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341.
Upon motion by the Commission, the District Court in Denver dismissed the pending claims against Merriman’s entities Market Street Advisors, LLC-1, LLC-2, Marque LLC-3, LLC-4 and Relief Defendant Impressions Everlasting. These entities are defunct and their assets, if any, were seized in connection with the criminal case against Merriman.