UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Securities Exchange Act of 1934
Release No. 47619 / April 2, 2003
File No. 3-11080
In the Matter of
ROBERT C. INGARDIA,
ORDER INSTITUTING ADMINISTRATIVE |
PROCEEDINGS, MAKING FINDINGS,
AND IMPOSING REMEDIAL SANCTIONS
PURSUANT TO SECTION 15(b) OF THE
SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
The Securities and Exchange Commission ("Commission") deems it appropriate and in the public interest that public administrative proceedings be, and hereby are, instituted pursuant to Section 15(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 ("Exchange Act") against Robert C. Ingardia ("Ingardia" or "Respondent").
In anticipation of the institution of these proceedings, Respondent has submitted an Offer of Settlement (the "Offer") which the Commission has determined to accept. Solely for the purpose of these proceedings and any other proceedings brought by or on behalf of the Commission, or to which the Commission is a party, and without admitting or denying the findings herein, except as to the Commission's jurisdiction over him and the subject matter of these proceedings, and the findings contained in Section III.2. and III. 5. below, which are admitted, Respondent consents to the entry of this Order Instituting Administrative Proceedings, Making Findings, and Imposing Remedial Sanctions Pursuant to Section 15(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 ("Order"), as set forth below.
On the basis of this Order and Ingardia's Offer, the Commission finds that:
- From April until September 2001, Ingardia was a registered representative associated with Joseph Stevens & Company, Inc. ("Joseph Stevens"), which is registered with the Commission as a broker-dealer. From December 1999 to March 2001, Ingardia was a registered representative associated with Mason Hill & Company, Inc. ("Mason Hill"), which was then registered with the Commission as a broker-dealer. Ingardia, 26 years old, currently resides at the Fort Dix Federal Correctional Institution in New Jersey.
- On March 5, 2003, a final judgment was entered by consent against Ingardia, permanently enjoining Ingardia from future violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 ("Securities Act") and Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, in the civil action entitled Securities and Exchange Commission v. Robert C. Ingardia, Civil Action Number 01-CV-8356, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
- The Commission's complaint alleged that Ingardia violated Section 17(a) of the Securities Act and Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The complaint also alleged that Ingardia, while employed at Joseph Stevens, made unauthorized trades in order to carry out a stock manipulation scheme. As part of the fraud, Ingardia misappropriated personal information and account information he obtained from his current and former Joseph Stevens and Mason Hill clients, and then placed unauthorized trades in the stock of at least two companies, Converge Global, Inc. ("Converge") and Equity Technologies & Resources, Inc. ("Equity Technologies"), which were both traded on the National Association of Securities Dealers Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board. Ingardia made more than $1.1 million worth of unauthorized trades in at least six brokerage accounts held at three or more different brokerage firms.
- Through the conduct described in subparagraph III.3. above, Ingardia participated in the offering of the common stocks of Converge and Equity Technologies, which were penny stocks.
- On February 4, 2002, Ingardia pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 371, and three counts of securities fraud in violation of Title 15 United States Code, Sections 78j(b) and 78ff and Title 17 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 240.10b-5 before the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in United States v. Robert Ingardia, Crim. Information No. 02 Cr. 137. On July 24, 2002, a judgment in the criminal case was entered against Ingardia. He was sentenced to a prison term of 15 months followed by 24 months of supervised release and was ordered to make restitution in the amount of $157,196.03 and to pay a special assessment of $400.
- The counts of the criminal information to which Ingardia pled guilty alleged, inter alia, that Ingardia willfully and knowingly conspired with others to commit securities fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud and that Ingardia willfully and knowingly employed manipulative and deceptive devices and contrivances in connection with the purchase and sale of, among others, Converge and Equity Technologies stock.
In view of the foregoing, the Commission deems it appropriate and in the public interest to accept the Offer and to impose the sanctions specified in Respondent's Offer.
ACCORDINGLY, IT IS ORDERED:
- Pursuant to Section 15(b)(6) of the Exchange Act, that Respondent be, and hereby is, barred from association with any broker or dealer; and
- That Respondent be, and hereby is, barred from participating in any offering of a penny stock, including: acting as a promoter, finder, consultant, agent, or other person who engages in activities with a broker, dealer or issuer for purposes of the issuance or trading in any penny stock; or inducing or attempting to induce the purchase or sale of any penny stock.
For the Commission, by its Secretary, pursuant to delegated authority.
Jonathan G. Katz