U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 18492 / December 5, 2003
U.S. v. Homer Langrill, Crim. No. CR-S-03-0430-HDM-PAL (USDC D. Nevada);
U.S. v. Thomas Becker, Crim. No. CR-S-03-0405-PMP-LRL (USDC D. Nevada);
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Homer T. Langrill and Thomas W. Becker, No. CV-S-02-1446-KJD-LRL (USDC D. Nevada)
The Commission announced today that, on October 21 and 24, 2003, Homer T. Langrill ("Langrill") and Thomas W. Becker ("Becker"), respectively, pleaded guilty to securities fraud for their roles in a "pump and dump" penny stock fraud scheme involving a publicly traded but legally defunct microcap company, Greater Northwest Research & Development Group, Inc. ("Greater Northwest"). Langrill and Becker's alleged conduct was, in part, the subject of a successful enforcement action brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission ("Commission") in 2002. The information and complaint, filed by the United States Attorney for the District of Nevada, alleges that Langrill and Becker disseminated false information about Greater Northwest to the public, including false information about its legal status, the identity of its directors, its eligibility for quotation on the Over-The-Counter Bulletin Board and its future financial performance, in order to sell their Greater Northwest stock at artificially high prices. The information and complaint also alleges that Becker and Langrill failed to disclose that Greater Northwest was controlled by Langrill, a convicted felon. The false information was disseminated between January 30 and late February 2002. Langrill and Becker then sold their shares of stock into the resulting artificially inflated market, thereby realizing profits of $24,537 and $46,400, respectively.
As a result of its lawsuit, in April 2003 the Commission succeeded in obtaining Default Judgments against Langrill and Becker enjoining them from directly or indirectly violating Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933 and Sections 10(b), 13(a), 13(d), 16(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 ("Exchange Act") and Rules 10b-5, 13a-1, 13a-11, 13a-13, 13d-1, 13d-2, 16a-2 and 16a-3 thereunder. The Default Judgments also permanently enjoined Langrill and Becker from participating in offerings of penny stock and acting as officers or directors of public companies. Langrill and Becker each were ordered to pay disgorgement plus prejudgment interest. Langrill was also ordered to pay a $25,000 civil penalty, and Becker was ordered to pay a $45,000 civil penalty.
The Commission's civil action alleged that Langrill and Becker made the false statements about Greater Northwest described above. The action also alleged that Langrill and Becker sold restricted Greater Northwest stock in unregistered transactions, while the false statements were disseminated through press releases, an Internet website, and a cable television infomercial. According to the Commission's complaint, Langrill and Becker failed to file mandatory periodic and current reports with the Commission on behalf of Greater Northwest since 1996, and further failed to report their beneficial ownership and disposition of Greater Northwest stock.
The Commission wishes to thank the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Nevada and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their cooperation and assistance in this matter.