U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 22395 / June 18, 2012
DISTRICT COURT ENTERS FINAL JUDGMENTS ORDERING A CIVIL PENALTY AGAINST DEFENDANTS JAMES CLEMENTS AND ZEINA SMIDI.
SEC v. Clements, Civil Action No. 11-60673-CIV-DIMITROULEAS/SNOW
The Commission announced that on May 21, 2012, a District Judge in the Southern District of Florida entered Final Judgments Ordering Disgorgement, Prejudgment Interest and a Civil Penalty against Defendants James Clements and Zeina Smidi. Pursuant to Section 20(d) of the Securities Act of 1933 (Securities Act) and Section 21(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act), District Court Judge William P. Dimitrouleas ordered Defendant Clements to pay disgorgement of $339,451, prejudgment interest of $88,975.66, and a civil penalty of $339,451, and ordered Defendant Smidi to pay disgorgement of $2,492,000, prejudgment interest of $611,837.60, and a civil penalty of $2,492,000.
The District Court previously entered by consent permanent injunctions against Clements and Smidi on February 6 and 17, 2012. The permanent injunctions enjoined Clements from future violations of Securities Act Sections 5(a), 5(c), and 17(a), and Exchange Act Sections 10(b), 15(a), and Exchange Act Rule 10b-5, and enjoined Smidi from future violations of Exchange Act Section 10(b), and Exchange Act Rule 10b-5. Clements and Smidi neither admitted nor denied the allegations of the complaint in their consents.
The Commission filed a complaint against Clements and Smidi on March 30, 2011, alleging they operated a Ponzi scheme that offered investors guaranteed monthly returns. The Defendants first told investors they would use investor proceeds to trade in foreign currencies and later stated they would use proceeds to invest in Swiss high-yield, fixed-rate savings accounts. In reality, however, Clements and Smidi siphoned approximately $3 million of investors’ money to their personal bank accounts, and paid out approximately $3 million for travel, expenses, and luxury items.
For more information on earlier actions in this case, see Litigation Release No. 21910 (Mar. 30, 2011).