UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
In the Matter of
|ORDER MAKING FINDINGS AND IMPOSING REMEDIAL SANCTION BY DEFAULT|
The Securities and Exchange Commission ("Commission") initiated this proceeding on September 28, 2001, pursuant to Section 15(b)(6) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 ("Exchange Act"). Rajiv Vohra has been unwilling to communicate with the Division of Enforcement ("Division") relative to the allegations in the Order Instituting Proceedings ("OIP"), and the Division does not know his present address.1 I postponed the scheduled hearing and three prehearing conferences because the Commission could not locate Mr. Vohra. The Division finally served Mr. Vohra with the OIP on February 12, 2002, when he made a court appearance in connection with an unrelated criminal proceeding. (Division's Notice of Filing of Return of Service dated March 1, 2002.)
On March 27, 2002, the Division filed a Motion for Default, With Authority ("Motion"), requesting that Mr. Vohra be found in default pursuant to Rules 155(a)(2) and 220 of the Commission's Rules of Practice, and that he be barred from participating in a penny stock offering. See 17 C.F.R. §§ 201.155(a)(2), .220. The Motion included two exhibits: a declaration by William P. Hicks, Division attorney, that Mr. Vohra had not filed an answer as of March 27, 2002 (Motion at Ex. 1.), and a copy of the complaint filed on September 5, 2000, in SEC v. Vohra, No. 00-7286- Civ-Seitz (S.D. Fla. 2000) (Motion at Ex. 2.).
FINDINGS OF FACT
Mr. Vohra is in default because he did not file an answer or other pleading in response to the OIP by March 4, 2002, which is twenty days following his receipt of the OIP. See 17 C.F.R. § 201.220(b). Accordingly, pursuant to Rules 155(a) and 220(f), 17 C.F.R. §§ 201.155(a), .220(f), I make the following findings of fact.
Mr. Vohra is approximately forty-eight years of age, and he claims to be a professional investor. Mr. Vohra resided in the state of Florida in 2001. During 1998 Mr. Vohra, participated in an offering of the common stock of New Directions Manufacturing, Inc. ("New Directions"), which was a penny stock as defined by the Exchange Act and rules promulgated thereunder. On September 5, 2000, the Commission filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida alleging that Mr. Vohra engaged in a scheme to promote the securities of New Directions, a small furniture-manufacturing company, by publishing false and misleading information in the form of a research report over the Internet, and by manipulating the price of New Directions stock through "wash sales." (Motion at Ex. 2.)
On March 28, 2001, Mr. Vohra consented to the entry of an injunction without admitting or denying any of the allegations contained in the Commission's complaint, except as to issues of jurisdiction and venue, which he admitted. On April 5, 2001, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida issued an order permanently enjoining Mr. Vohra from violating Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act, and Rule 10b-5 thereunder.
Based on these facts, I find it is in the public interest that Mr. Vohra not participate in any future offering of penny stock. Accordingly, pursuant to Section 15(b)(6) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, I ORDER, that Rajiv Vohra be, and hereby is, barred from participating in an offering of penny stock.
Brenda P. Murray
Chief Administrative Law Judge
|1||Both the United States Postal Service and Federal Express were unable to deliver copies of orders sent to Mr. Vohra at 441 South Federal Highway, Deerfield Beach, Florida 33441. The materials were returned to the Commission.|
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