U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 19481 / December 2, 2005
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Peter S. Jessop, Socius Holdings Ltd., SIGF, S.A., Steven R. Wright, International Solutions, Inc., Shawn Casius and Logic’s Consulting, Inc., Civil Action No. 05 Civ 10115 (PAC)
SEC Obtains Order Freezing $1.4 Million in International Scheme that Drove the Stock Price of a Virtually Assetless Company from Pennies to $90 Per Share
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday brought an emergency action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York to freeze the U.S. brokerage account of Socius Holdings Ltd. (“Socius”), an entity incorporated in the British Virgin Islands and operating out of Geneva, Switzerland, that, the Commission alleges, participated in the fraudulent manipulation of the stock of Cameron International, Inc. (“Cameron”) in concert with other related individuals and entities. The Commission’s request for a temporary restraining order and asset freeze was granted by the Honorable Judge Paul A. Crotty, who froze $1.4 million in Socius’ assets pending a preliminary hearing.
The Commission’s complaint alleges that from August through November 2005, Socius, in concert with defendants Peter S. Jessop, SIGF, S.A., Steven R. Wright, International Solutions, Inc., Shawn Casius, Logic’s Consulting, and other related individuals and entities, manipulated Cameron’s stock price through a series of coordinated wash sales and matched orders designed to create the illusion of an active and rising market in Cameron and induce others to buy Cameron shares at inflated prices. During this period, the defendants’ trading comprised the majority, and on many days all, of the retail buying and selling of Cameron’s stock. The defendants’ coordinated trades drove Cameron’s share price from $.05 to $90 in a two-month period. On November 7, 2005, the Commission suspended trading in shares of Cameron due to a lack of current and accurate information concerning a possible change in ownership of the company and questions regarding the dramatic rise in its share price.
The complaint charges the defendants with violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and seeks, against each, disgorgement of all ill-gotten gains plus prejudgment interest, civil penalties, and permanent injunctions barring future violations of the anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws. In addition, the complaint seeks a temporary restraining order and an asset freeze against Socius Holdings Ltd, and an order against all defendants requiring expedited discovery.
Peter Jessop is the sole director of Socius and SIGF, two entities located in Geneva, Switzerland. Steven Wright is an accountant and the president of California-based International Solutions, Inc. In 2003, Wright was sued by the Commission in connection with a similar “shell factory” manipulation scheme. See S.E.C. v. Craig J. Shaber, Stephen R. Wright et al., Civil Action No. 3:03-CV-2247-G (N.D. Texas, filed Sept. 30, 2003) and S.E.C. v. 2DoTrade, Inc., et al., Civil Action No. 3:03-CV-2246-N (N.D. Texas, filed Sept. 30, 2003). Shawn Casius is a resident of California and the president of Logic’s Consulting, Inc.