U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Litigation Release No. 21824 / January 25, 2011
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Christopher S. Metcalf, Bozidar "Bob" Vukovich, and Pantera Petroleum, Inc., Civil Action No. 11 Civ. 0493 (CM) (S.D.N.Y.)
SEC CHARGES COMPANY, CEO, AND STOCK PROMOTER WITH MARKET MANIPULATION
The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Pantera Petroleum, Inc. ("Pantera"), its CEO, and a stock promoter with engaging in a fraudulent broker bribery scheme designed to manipulate the market for Pantera's common stock.
The complaint, filed on January 24, 2011 in federal court in Manhattan, alleges that beginning in at least March 2008, Christopher S. Metcalf, Pantera's President and CEO, and stock promoter Bozidar "Bob" Vukovich engaged in an undisclosed kickback arrangement with an individual ("Individual A") who claimed to represent a group of registered representatives with trading discretion over the accounts of wealthy customers. Metcalf and Vukovich promised to pay a 30% kickback to Individual A and the registered representatives he purported to represent in exchange for the purchase of up to $2 million of Pantera stock through the customers' accounts.
The complaint further alleges that from March 25-31, 2008 and again on August 22, 2008, Vukovich instructed Individual A to purchase approximately 295,000 shares of Pantera stock for a total of approximately $150,000 through matched trades using detailed instructions concerning the size, price and timing of the purchase orders. Thereafter, Vukovich paid Individual A bribes of almost $37,000.
The complaint charges Vukovich, Metcalf, and through Metcalf, Pantera, with violating Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5. The Commission seeks permanent injunctive relief from the Defendants, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, if any, plus pre-judgment interest, and civil penalties from Metcalf and Vukovich, a judgment prohibiting Metcalf and Vukovich from participating in any offering of penny stock, and a judgment prohibiting Metcalf from serving as an officer or director of a public company.
The Commission acknowledges assistance provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in this matter.