UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
In the Matter of
|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 Joseph Romeo ("Romeo" or "Respondent").
In anticipation of the institution of these administrative proceedings, Respondent has submitted an Offer of Settlement ("Offer") that 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 in 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 except as to the entry of the judgment set forth in paragraph III.C. 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 Respondent's Offer, the Commission finds that:
A. Respondent, age 31, is a resident of Plainview, New York. Respondent was registered with the National Association of Securities Dealers. During the relevant time period, Respondent conducted business through Investors Associates, Inc., a broker-dealer registered with the Commission pursuant to Section 15(b) of the Exchange Act, with headquarters in Hackensack, New Jersey. Investors Associates, Inc. ceased business, except for liquidating trades, on approximately July 12, 1997. Its corporate charter was revoked by the State of New Jersey on February 16, 1998, and its broker-dealer registration was cancelled by the Commission on September 22, 1998.
B. Investors Associates, Inc. was primarily engaged in the business of telemarketing speculative securities that were underwritten and/or recommended by Investors Associates, Inc. During the period March 1996 through December 1997, while working for Investors Associates, Inc., Respondent participated in public offerings of Perry's Majestic Beer, Inc. and other securities, many of which were penny stocks within the meaning of Section 3(a)(51) of the Exchange Act, 15 U.S.C. § 78c(a)(51), and Rule 3a51-1 thereunder.
C. On January 3, 2002, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, pursuant to his plea of guilty, found Respondent Romeo guilty of violations of Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act, 15 U.S.C. § 78j(b), and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and 18 U.S.C. § 371.
D. The Court found that Respondent made, and participated with others in making, materially false or misleading statements and omissions to brokerage customers concerning the purchase and sale of securities, many of which were penny stocks within the meaning Section 3(a)(51) of the Exchange Act, 15 U.S.C. § 78c(a)(51), and Rule 3a51-1 thereunder.
In view of the foregoing, the Commission deems it appropriate and in the public interest to impose the sanctions specified in Respondent Romeo's Offer.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
A. Pursuant to Section 15(b)(6) of the Exchange Act, that Respondent Romeo be, and hereby is, barred from association with any broker or dealer; and
B. Pursuant to Section 15(b)(6) of the Exchange Act, that Respondent Romeo 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.
By the Commission.
Jonathan G. Katz
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