UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
In the Matter of
|ORDER ENTERING DEFAULT, MAKING FINDINGS, AND IMPOSING REMEDIAL SANCTIONS|
The Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission) issued its Order Instituting Proceedings (OIP) on November 5, 2002. The Chief Administrative Law Judge then assigned the matter to my docket. On November 29, 2002, the Division of Enforcement (Division) advised me that Salman Shariff (Respondent or Shariff) no longer lived at the Florida address identified in the OIP and that Respondent had not yet received a copy of the OIP. The Division also advised that it had hired a process server who was attempting to locate Respondent at a forwarding address.
The Division has now filed a supplemental statement showing that the OIP was properly served on Shariff at 155 Spoonbill Court, Jupiter, Florida 33458, on December 2, 2002. By the terms of the OIP and under the Commission's Rules of Practice, Shariff's answer was due no later than December 23, 2002. No answer has been filed and the time for filing has expired. Pursuant to Rules 155(a)(2) and 220(f) of the Commission's Rules of Practice, I find Shariff in default.
I further find that the following allegations in the OIP are true:
During the period from February 1996 through May 1997, Shariff was associated as a registered representative with Royal Alliance Associates, Inc., a registered broker and dealer.
During the period from December 1996 through June 2001, Shariff was associated with Vestron Financial Corporation (Vestron), an unregistered investment adviser, as its president.
During the period from December 1996 through June 2001, Shariff acted as an unregistered broker.
On October 16, 2001, the Commission filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, SEC v. Vestron Financial Corp., Case No. 01-4269-CIV-SEITZ (S.D. Fla.) The Commission's complaint charged Shariff, among others, with violations of Sections 5(a), 5(c), and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 (Securities Act) and Sections 10(b) and 15(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act) and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The complaint also charged Shariff with aiding and abetting Vestron's violations of Sections 206(1) and 206(2) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (Advisers Act).
The Commission's complaint alleged that, during the period from December 1996 through June 2001, Vestron, through Shariff, fraudulently raised at least $11.6 million from investors nationwide and internationally through the offer and sale of unregistered securities. According to the complaint, Vestron, through Shariff, told investors that it would use investor funds to trade in stocks, options, and other financial instruments. Vestron, through Shariff, told investors that it invested conservatively and that it sought to meet its historical average return of 5% a month. Vestron and Shariff assured investors that Vestron protected itself from significant losses by "setting up stop limits and safety margins on call options." The complaint alleged that of the $11.6 million raised from investors, only approximately $1.625 million was actually traded in stocks and other financial instruments. The complaint also alleged that Shariff took at least $2.082 million in investor monies in the form of compensation and other personal uses.
On March 27, 2002, the United States District Court entered a default judgment of permanent injunction and other relief against Shariff. The final judgment permanently enjoined Shariff from future violations of Sections 5(a), 5(c), and 17(a) of the Securities Act, Sections 10(b) and 15(a) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and Sections 206(1) and 206(2) of the Advisers Act.
Pursuant to Section 15(b) of the Exchange Act and Section 203(f) of the Advisers Act, I conclude that the public interest requires that Shariff be barred from association with brokers, dealers, and investment advisers.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED THAT Salman Shariff is barred from association with any broker, dealer, or investment adviser.
James T. Kelly
Administrative Law Judge
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