U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 19907 / November 14, 2006
SEC v. Tri Energy, Inc., H & J Energy Company, Inc., Marina Investors Group, Inc., Lowell Decker, Robert Jennings, Henry Jones, Arthur Simburg, Mildred Stultz, DJM, LLC, Financial MD, Inc., Financial MD and Associates, Inc., Daniel J. Merriman, Global Village Records, and La Vie D'Argent, as defendants, and R.P.J. Investment Group, Inc., T.M.A. Investment Enterprises, Thomas Avery, and Wing NGA Lau, a/k/a Adrienne Lau, as relief defendants, Case No. ED CV 05-00351 AG(MANx) (C.D. California, filed August 9, 2006)
Court Enters Order of Contempt for Failure to Obey Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction Against Defendant Henry Jones
On November 2, 2006, the US District Court for the Central District of California entered an order of contempt against Defendant Henry Jones for failure to obey the temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction that were issued in May 2005. Without admitting or denying the allegations of civil contempt made by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Jones consented to the entry of the finding of civil contempt. To purge his contempt, Jones agreed to an amended preliminary injunction with a broader prohibition of conduct. In particular, Jones is permanently enjoined from "any involvement in, or conduct facilitating or relating in any way to, investing or soliciting investment in any program purporting to involve coal or a coal mine operation, an international gold transaction, or an international banking transaction, with or from any participant, officer, director, or investor in Tri Energy Inc., H&J Energy Inc., La Vie D'Argent, Global Village Records, or Marina Investors Group, Inc."
The contempt finding was based upon the SEC's evidence that, after the Court entered a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, Jones continued to solicit and obtain money from investors in an ongoing affinity fraud and Ponzi scheme involving Tri Energy, Inc. According to the evidence, Jones established a new business called Global Village Records ("GVR") in May of 2005. GVR appeared to be operating in place of Jones' other businesses Marina Investors Group, Inc. and MIG Records, whose accounts were subject to an asset freeze due to the fraud. According to the evidence, Jones opened a new bank account in the name of GVR, which he used to receive additional funds from Tri Energy investors. The evidence also shows that Jones caused at least $500,000 from a Tri-Energy investor to be sent to one of Jones' performers under the pretense that the performer was really an attorney for the gold transaction.
The SEC's complaint alleges that the gold transaction was a fraud that Jones and others used to defraud hundreds of investors of over $50 million by promising returns of 100% or more within 60 days. The SEC's complaint alleges that Jones and other have been telling investors that these extraordinary profits were to be generated in part by helping an unnamed Saudi Arabian prince move gold from Israel through Luxembourg to the United Arab Emirates. In reality, according to the Complaint, although some money has been paid out to investors, these funds appear to have come from new investor money, and substantial amounts of investor funds have been transferred to bank accounts controlled by the proposed defendants and relief defendants. Defendants have characterized the purported gold transaction to religiously devout investors as "deistically inspired" and "divinely guided."
For their roles in the alleged scheme, the SEC charged Jones and the other defendants with violations of Sections 5 and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 ("Securities Act") and violations of, and aiding and abetting violations of, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 ("Exchange Act") and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The SEC also named various relief defendants, including the performer who received the $500,000, who allegedly received investor funds to which they have no legitimate claim.