Securities and Exchange Commission
Litigation Release No. 18631 / March 22, 2004
Securities and Exchange Commission v. The Geneva Group and Nicholas Garcia, Civil Action No. SACV97-740 (AHS) (C.D. Cal.)
Distribution Agent Appointed in SEC Action Against the Geneva Group Involving Fraudulent Offering of Forcetek Securities
The Commission announced today that on March 8, 2004, the Honorable Alicemarie H. Stotler, United States District Judge for the Central District of California, Southern Division, granted the Commission's application for an order appointing distribution agent, transferring frozen funds and approving a plan of distribution of disgorged assets in the above-referenced matter. Pursuant to the Court's order, Richard Weissman, Esquire, of the Law Offices of Richard Weissman in Woodland Hills, California, will serve as Distribution Agent.
On September 15, 1997, the Commission filed a complaint against defendants Nicholas Garcia and The Geneva Group, an unregistered broker dealer, alleging that they violated the antifraud and broker dealer registration provisions of the federal securities laws through the offer and sale of shares of stock in Force Technologies, Inc. (Force Technologies), a British Columbia corporation, and ForceTek Holding, Inc. (ForceTek), a Florida corporation. The Commission alleged that the defendants had solicited investors to buy shares of ForceTek -- a company controlled by Garcia's associates that had no business operations -- with materials that described the business of Force Technologies, Inc., a different and unrelated Canadian company that traded in Canada under the symbol FRCE. The Commission alleged specifically that such conduct violated Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Sections 10(b), 15(a) and 15(c) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rules 10b-5 and 15c1-2 thereunder.
On September 16, 1997, the Court issued an order temporarily restraining defendants from engaging in further fraudulent activities and freezing their assets. (Lit. Rel. No. 15496/Sept. 17, 1997). On October 20, 1998, the Court entered a Final Judgment, permanently enjoining defendants from violating the antifraud and broker-dealer provisions of the federal securities laws. The Court also ordered Geneva and Garcia to pay civil penalties of $500,000 and $100,000, respectively, and to jointly and severally disgorge $1,949,653 of illicit proceeds and prejudgment interest of $129,489.
Pursuant to the Court's March 8, 2004 Order, the Distribution Agent will be establishing a settlement fund consisting of the assets frozen by the Court's September 16, 1997 Order. The Distribution Agent will attempt to notify potential claimants of the right to submit a claim against the settlement fund. The notice will include a copy of the Court's March 8, 2004 Order, a proof of claim form prepared by the Distribution Agent and will provide a deadline for the filing of claims. In the near future, the Commission may also publish additional claims information on its website at www.sec.gov, including the date by when injured investors must submit claims to participate in the distribution.
For more information concerning this matter, investors should contact the Distribution Agent Richard Weissman (818) 226-5434.