U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 23881 /July 19, 2017
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Troy Joseph Flowers, et al., Civil Action No. 17-cv-1456 JAH (JLB) (S.D. Cal., filed July 19, 2017)
SEC Files Fraud Charges Against Alleged Market Manipulators
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced fraud charges against two California men and a company behind an alleged scheme to manipulate the stock prices of two shell companies.
The SEC alleges that Troy Flowers and his partner Sean Nevett illegally concealed their control and ownership of Licont Corp. and Artec Global Media by using multiple accounts that they controlled in the names of other people and entities. They then allegedly created the false appearance of active trading by making manipulative trades from those accounts to inflate the stock prices. According to the SEC's complaint, Flowers and Nevett subsequently dumped their own shares into the open market at the expense of innocent investors, who were left with stock that is virtually worthless.
The SEC alleges that Flowers, his company Fruition Inc. (previously called Seacoast Advisors), and Nevett reaped approximately $3.8 million in illegal proceeds from the scheme. According to the SEC's complaint, IP address information confirms that Flowers and Nevett primarily conducted the manipulative trading from their home offices, and Nevett went so far as to impersonate one of the nominee account holders in his communications with brokers.
The SEC's complaint, which was filed in federal court in the Southern District of California, charges Flowers, Nevett, and Fruition with violating Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, and Sections 9(a)(1) and 10(b) of the of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. It also seeks relief including permanent injunctions, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus interest, penalties, and penny stock bars.
The SEC's investigation was conducted by Adrienne Gurley and Angela Hill of the Los Angeles Regional Office with assistance from the SEC Enforcement Division's Microcap Fraud Task Force. The case is being supervised by Sara Kalin and the litigation will be led by John Bulgozdy. The SEC appreciates the assistance of FINRA.