U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 21654 / September 17, 2010
SEC v. Randy M. Cho, Civil Action No. 09-CV-6261 (USDC) (N.D.Ill.)
District Court Enters Judgment Order Setting Disgorgement, Prejudgment Interest and a Civil Penalty Against Randy M. Cho
The Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission) announced that on September 14, 2010, the Honorable James F. Holderman entered a Judgment Order against Randy M. Cho (Cho) ordering Cho to pay $7,783,767.02 in disgorgement, $289,320.08 in prejudgment interest, and a statutory civil penalty of $150,000.
Previously, on October 27, 2009, the Court entered an order permanently enjoining Cho from violating the antifraud provisions of the Securities Act of 1933 [Section 17(a)], the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 [Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 thereunder], and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 [Sections 206(1) and 206(2)] (Permanent Injunction Order). Cho consented to the entry of the Permanent Injunction Order without admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint. An order entered by the Court on October 7, 2009, freezing Cho’s assets remains in effect.
First filed on October 7, 2009, in an emergency TRO action, the Commission’s complaint alleges that, since at least 2001, Cho engaged in a fraudulent scheme to misappropriate investors’ funds for his personal use and to repay other investors, raising at least $3.7 million from at least 45 investors in four states. The complaint alleges that Cho falsely represented to investors that he would pool their funds to invest in shares of specific well-known companies in anticipation of expected initial public offerings of those companies, including Centerpoint, AOL/Time Warner, Inc., Google, Inc., Facebook, Inc. and Rosetta Stone, Inc. The complaint alleges that, instead of purchasing these shares for investors, Cho used investor funds for personal trading, the personal expenses of himself and his family, and also operated a Ponzi scheme, using new investor funds to repay existing investors. The complaint alleges that throughout the scheme, Cho falsely told investors that he had worked at Goldman Sachs, still had an account there and made his investments through the firm, and/or that Goldman Sachs still considered him a preferred client. The complaint further alleges that Cho told some investors that additional funds would be needed to satisfy a U.S. tax liability in connection with their supposed purchase of Google and Rosetta Stone shares, when there was no tax liability and when the shares had not even been purchased for the investors.