U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 18091 / April 15, 2003
U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION v. AMERICAN HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS, INC., ARTHUR W. WHEELER, LARS M. KRAM, ANGEL L. LORIE JR., LUIS F. LORIE, AND MICHAEL ANTHONY LESTER 01 Civ 7649 (B.S.J.) (S.D.N.Y.)
Arthur W. Wheeler, American Healthcare Providers, Inc.'s Chief Executive Officer Officer, Is Found Guilty Of Securities Fraud In Parallel Criminal Action
The Securities and Exchange Commission ("Commission") announced that on April 14, 2003, in a parallel criminal proceeding, United States v. Arthur W. Wheeler, 02 Cr. 848 (S.D.N.Y.) (RMB), defendant Arthur W. Wheeler ("Wheeler"), the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American Healthcare Providers, Inc. ("American Healthcare"), was found guilty of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud following a jury trial. Wheeler is scheduled to be sentenced by the Honorable Richard M. Berman on June 26, 2003.
In the Commission's civil action against Wheeler, SEC v. American Healthcare Providers, Inc., et al., 01 Civ 7649 (S.D.N.Y.) (BSJ), the Commission charged American Healthcare Providers, Inc., Wheeler and four other individuals for their roles in an Internet market manipulation scheme. The Commission's complaint alleged that American Healthcare was a start-up company with "headquarters" in Wheeler's New York City apartment, and had virtually no business operations. The Commission charged that after pumping up the price of American Healthcare stock through an extensive campaign of false press releases and Internet message board postings, the defendants dumped their holdings of the stock on the unsuspecting public, reaping at least $1.47 million in illicit gains.
The Commission previously announced that on May 14, 2002, Judge Barbara S. Jones entered final judgments against defendants Michael Anthony Lester and Lars M. Kram. In addition, on May 29, 2002, Judge Jones entered default judgments against defendants American Healthcare and Luis F. Lorie ("Luis Lorie"), a purported "consultant" to American Healthcare.
On November 27, 2002, Luis Lorie pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud for the same conduct alleged in the Commission's complaint. On April 1, 2003, Luis Lorie's father, Angle L. Lorie, Jr. ("Angle Lorie"), another purported "consultant" to American Healthcare and a recidivist securities law violator, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and one count of securities fraud for the same conduct alleged in the Commission's complaint.
The Commission's civil action against Wheeler and Angle Lorie was stayed pending the resolution of Wheeler's criminal trial.
For tips on how to avoid Internet "pump-and-dump" stock manipulation schemes, visit http://www.sec.gov/investor/online/pump.htm.
For more information about Internet fraud, visit http://www.sec.gov/divisions/enforce/internetenforce.htm.
To report suspicious activity involving possible Internet fraud, visit http://www.sec.gov/complaint.shtml.