SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No.16846 / December 29, 2000
SEC HALTS ALLEGED FRAUDULENT SECURITIES OFFERING BY MIAMI, FLORIDA BOILER-ROOM
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION V. WEB HOSTING HEADQUARTERS PARTNERSHIP, DONALD E. RHOADES, KENNETH R. GROSSFELD, WAYNE L. PRICHASON, EDUARDO VILLAR, AND KARYN MILLER, ET AL., Case No. 00-4975-CIV-HIGHSMITH-GARBER (S.D. Fla., filed Dec. 28, 2000)
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that on December 28, 2000, it obtained emergency relief halting an alleged ongoing fraudulent securities offering being conducted by a Miami, Florida boiler-room and its principals and telemarketers. Among other things, the SEC's complaint alleges that the boiler-room, Web Hosting Headquarters Partnership (Web Hosting or the Company), failed to disclose to investors that it is controlled by individuals with a prior history of defrauding investors, and that it has diverted, and would continue to divert, 62% of funds raised from investors to pay its principals and telemarketers. The complaint further alleges that Web Hosting and the named individual defendants had already raised at least $2.5 million from defrauded investors, and that its fraudulent sales were ongoing. All of the named individual defendants reside in South Florida.
At the SEC's request, the Honorable Shelby Highsmith of the United States District Court of the Southern District of Florida entered an order temporarily restraining Web Hosting, Donald E. Rhoades, Kenneth R. Grossfeld, Wayne L. Prichason, Eduardo Villar, and Karyn Miller from continuing to violate the federal securities laws by fraudulently selling Web Hosting securities in unregistered transactions and by acting as broker-dealers while not registered with the Commission. The Court also entered orders freezing the defendants' assets, appointing a Receiver over Web Hosting, and granting other emergency relief.
According to the SEC's complaint, filed on December 28, 2000, Web Hosting has already raised funds from at least 132 investors nationwide. Among other things, the SEC's complaint alleges that the defendants:
The SEC's complaint also alleges that Web Hosting and its telemarketers use hard-sell tactics and misrepresent the number of securities available for purchase in order to convince prospective investors to purchase Web Hosting securities.
The SEC's complaint also names Web Hosting Headquarters, Inc., National Millennium Corporation, Internet Management Group, Inc., Intranet Inc., and Lenica Corp., as relief defendants. At the SEC's request, the Court temporarily froze the assets of all of the defendants and relief defendants. The SEC's complaint seeks disgorgement from the defendants and relief defendants, all of which directly or indirectly received investor funds, so that funds may be returned to the defrauded investors.
Upon the SEC's motion, the Court appointed Christian R. Bartholomew, a partner in the Miami Office of the Morgan, Lewis & Bockius law firm, as Receiver over Web Hosting. Among other things, Mr. Bartholomew is responsible for taking control of Web Hosting and for marshaling and safeguarding its assets.
In addition to freezing the assets of the defendants and the relief defendants, and granting other relief, the temporary restraining order restrains the defendants from violating Sections 5(a), 5(c) and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 [15 U.S.C. §§ 77e(a), 77e(c) and 77q] and Sections 10(b) and 15(a)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 [15 U.S.C. §§ 78j(b) and 78o(a)(1)] and Rule 10b-5 thereunder [17 C.F.R. 240.10b-5]. Those sections and rules prohibit certain sales of securities not registered with the Commission, prohibit fraud in the offer and sale, and in connection with the purchase and sale, of securities, and prohibit acting as a broker or dealer while not registered with the Commission.