U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 18984 / November 23, 2004
SEC v. FIRST ACCESS FINANCIAL, LLC, et al., Civil Action No.: 3-04-CV-166-H (U.S.D.C., Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division)
The Commission announced a settlement today in a case involving fraud charges against First Access Financial, LLC, First Access, Inc., Thomas H. Keesee and Eduardo Lautieri. The Commission had charged the defendants with securities fraud in connection with an unregistered interstate offering and sale of securities in the form of interests in a pooled foreign currency trading account. Due to the Commission's early discovery of the fraudulent offering, the Commission halted the offering in January 2004 after the defendants had obtained funds from only 15 investors.
On January 28, 2004, the Commission filed a complaint against the defendants in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division ("District Court"), SEC v. First Access Financial, LLC, et al, Civ. No. 3-04-CV-168-H (N.D. Tex.). The Commission's complaint alleged that defendants, using aggressive cold calling, an Internet website, television infomercials and paid radio spots, claimed to provide investors access to foreign exchange markets at the special "Interbank level" supposedly accessible only to the "most profitable" and "largest financial institutions in the world." The Complaint also alleged that the defendants further claimed to have a "Currency Management Team" with a five-year track record of 100% returns, headed by "a world-renowned institutional money manager" who is a "Top 10 certified and rated trader." The Commission contended these claims, as well as others that defendants made, were false and that First Access Financial was, in fact, merely a five-month-old boiler room outfit. Defendants raised $243,000 from investors in at least seven states and two foreign countries, with no investor funds going to "Interbank level" foreign currency trading.
First Access Financial, First Access, Keesee and Lautieri consented to the entry of a final judgment enjoining them from future violations of 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 ("Exchange Act"). Further, Keesee and First Access consented to the entry of an order enjoining each from future violations of Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act. Additionally, all defendants agreed to an order requiring, jointly and severally, the disgorgement of $30,074 plus pre-judgment interest of $750 and Keesee and Lautieri each consented to the entry of an order to pay a civil monetary penalty of $51,020. The trial court entered the final judgment on November 18, 2004. Additionally, Keesee agreed to an order barring him from association with a broker or dealer with a right to apply for association with a registered entity after three years.