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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

United States Securities and Exchange Commission

Securities Act of 1933
Release No. 7692 / June 28, 1999

Securities Exchange Act of 1934
Release No. 41565 / June 28, 1999

Administrative Proceeding File No 3-9923.


The SEC announced today that it has instituted administrative proceedings against LT Lawrence & Co., Inc., a New York broker-dealer, and its owners Todd E. Roberti of Florham Park, New Jersey, and Lawrence Principato of Staten Island, New York, for manipulating the initial public offerings of two microcap companies. In the Order Instituting Proceedings the Division of Enforcement alleges that LT Lawrence, through Roberti and Principato, underwrote two microcap IPOs between December 1995 and July 1996 and manipulated the price of both securities, defrauding its retail customers of at least $2 million.

The Division alleges that LT Lawrence underwrote the IPOs of Ecotyre Technologies, Inc. on December 12, 1995, and Bigmar, Inc. on June 19, 1996. Both Ecotyre and Bigmar traded on the NASDAQ SmallCap market. The Division also alleges that Roberti and Principato, through LT Lawrence, engaged in a classic pump-and-dump manipulative scheme to artificially increase the price of the Ecotyre and Bigmar securities. Roberti and Principato, through LT Lawrence, controlled the distribution of both IPOs and dominated and controlled the first day of aftermarket trading in both Ecotyre and Bigmar securities. In both schemes, Roberti and Principato accumulated a large inventory position at LT Lawrence and then dumped the securities on its retail customers at the manipulated price. In addition, LT Lawrence had large short positions in its inventory accounts at the end of the first day of aftermarket trading in both securities.

The Division is seeking sanctions against the respondents including cease-and-desist orders, disgorgement and pre-judgment interest, monetary penalties, and other remedial action. A hearing will be held before an administrative law judge to determine whether the staff's allegations against the respondents are true, and if so, what remedial sanctions are appropriate and in the public interest.