UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
LITIGATION RELEASE NO. 16386 / December 10, 1999
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION V. TRINITY GAS CORPORATION AND SIDNEY W. SERS, Civil Action No.4-97CV-1018Y (N.D. Tex., Fort Worth Division)
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced that on November 23, 1999, the Honorable Terry Means, United States District Judge for the Northern District of Texas, Ft. Worth Division, granted a summary judgment against defendant Sidney W. Sers, the former President and Chief Executive Officer of Trinity Gas Corporation. The Judgment permanently enjoined Sers from violating Sections 5(a), 5(c) and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and rule 10b-5 thereunder. Sers was also ordered to pay disgorgement of $11,607,442, plus prejudgment interest, and a civil penalty of $110,000. In partial satisfaction of the disgorgement order, the Court directed that approximately $4 million of Sers' funds that was previously frozen by the Court, be turned over to the reorganized Trinity for the benefit of its shareholders.
The Court found that between May 1996 and November 1997, in connection with the offer, purchase and sale of Trinity stock, Sers knowingly and intentionally made material misstatements and omitted to state material facts concerning, among other things, Trinity's purported ownership and valuation of a Colombian oil and gas concession. The Court further found that during the period that Sers was publicly disseminating false and misleading information, he directly and indirectly sold at least 49 million unregistered Trinity shares to the public, including 2.68 million shares in the over-the-counter market. Sers was also found to have misappropriated at least $2.8 million in Trinity funds.
Sers remains the subject of a civil contempt order and arrest warrant as a result of his violations of the Court's January 7, 1998 asset freeze order. Among other things, Sers was found by the Court to have transferred approximately $800,000 in stock proceeds to his privately-held Cayman corporation the day after the freeze order was entered. Sers is a fugitive and presently resides in Cali, Colombia.