SEC Charges Las Vegas Attorney with Facilitating a Microcap Fraud
Jan. 23, 2020
File No. 3-19668
January 23, 2020 - The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that a Las Vegas attorney agreed to settle charges for his role in defrauding investors in an Arizona microcap company's stock.
According to the SEC's order, Benjamin L. Bunker prepared false attorney opinion letters for two clients that allowed them to sell their shares of Greenway Design, Inc. stock to the public without filing a registration statement with the SEC. According to the order, Bunker knew that his clients were planning to sell their shares as part of a "pump and dump" fraud, and nevertheless falsely stated in the opinion letters that the clients were not affiliated with Greenway and had met the one-year holding requirement. According to the order, the clients promoted Greenway's stock and sold their shares as the stock price increased, resulting in $233,000 in illegal trading proceeds.
In a parallel criminal proceeding, Bunker was indicted for his conduct related to Greenway, which included securities fraud charges.
The SEC's order finds that Bunker violated the registration and antifraud provisions 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, was well as Rule 10b-5 thereunder. Without admitting or denying the findings, Bunker agreed to cease and desist from future violations, be barred from participating in any penny stock offerings, and pay disgorgement and prejudgment interest of $2,294, which will be offset by the amount of any criminal restitution order against him. In addition, Bunker agreed to be permanently suspended from appearing and practicing before the SEC as an attorney. The order also prohibits Bunker from representing clients in SEC matters, including investigations, litigation, or examinations, and from advising clients about SEC filing obligations or content.
The SEC's investigation was conducted by Marc Blau and Roberto Tercero of the Commission's Los Angeles Regional Office as part of the Microcap Fraud Task Force.