U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 23154 / December 9, 2014
USA v. Richard Weed, Case No. 1:14-cr-10348-DPW
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Richard Weed, et al. , Civil Action No. 1:14-cv-14099
California Attorney Indicted for Securities Fraud in Scheme to Manipulate Stock of Sports Ticket Broker
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that on December 4, 2014, Richard Weed ("Weed"), a partner in a Newport Beach, California law practice, was indicted on eleven criminal charges by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts in connection with an alleged pump-and-dump scheme that defrauded investors in a Boston-based ticket brokering business. The indictment charges Weed with one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, one count of securities fraud, and nine counts of wire fraud.
The allegations in the criminal indictment stem from the same misconduct underlying the Commission's pending action filed against Weed and two other defendants on November 6, 2014. In that case, the SEC alleges that Weed facilitated a scheme to pump and dump the stock of CitySide Tickets Inc., which he helped structure into a publicly traded company through reverse mergers. Weed created backdated promissory notes and authored false legal opinion letters that enabled Thomas Brazil and Coleman Flaherty to obtain millions of purportedly unrestricted shares of stock in the company. Investors were then blitzed with a false and misleading promotional campaign touting CitySide Tickets as a budding national leader on the verge of acquiring smaller ticket firms across the country and positioning itself as an attractive takeover target for Ticketmaster. As the company's stock price increased on the false hype, Brazil and Flaherty sold their shares to unsuspecting investors for illicit proceeds of approximately $3 million, and Weed was well-compensated for his role in the scheme. Shortly thereafter, the market for CitySide Tickets stock collapsed and the company eventually went out of business.
Weed was originally charged by a criminal complaint and arrested on November 6, 2014. The SEC's action, which is pending, seeks disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus pre-judgment interest and penalties as well as penny stock bars and permanent injunctions against further violations of the securities laws. The SEC also seeks to bar Weed from serving as an officer or director of any public company.
For further information, see Litigation Release No. 23129 (November 7, 2014) [Civil Complaint].