SEC Charges Company, Individuals with Defrauding Investors in "Soil Remediation" Scam

Litigation Release No. 24064 / March 5, 2018

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Jersey Consulting LLC, No. 2:18-cv-00155-BSJ (D. Utah, February 20, 2018)

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against a Utah-based company, its principal, and several solicitors of the company's securities in an ongoing offering fraud that has already targeted more than 80 individual investors.

The SEC's complaint, filed in federal district court in Salt Lake City, Utah, alleges that, since September 2014, Marc Andrew Tager of Utah and his company, Jersey Consulting LLC, have engaged in the fraudulent offering of unregistered Jersey securities and employed paid telemarketers to raise at least $6 million from investors located across the U.S. None of the telemarketers-Suzanne Aileen Gagnier, Kenneth Stephen Gross, Jeffrey Rowland Lebarton, and Jonathan Edward Shoucair-are registered to sell securities. According to the complaint, Jersey investors were promised extraordinary returns of 100% or more within 12 months from the application and licensing of Jersey's "soil remediation" technology, and were misled about the commercial viability of Jersey's technology and Jersey's purported rights to a "mineral rich" claim in Arizona. Jersey in fact had no rights to the claim and its technology was not commercially viable. Jersey also failed to disclose Tager's prior felony conviction and that investor funds were diverted to pay for Tager's personal expenses, including the purchase of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Utah, which conducted a parallel investigation of the matter, announced that Tager and others were indicted on securities fraud, among other criminal charges. Additionally, the Utah Department of Commerce‒Division of Securities, which also conducted a parallel investigation of the matter, announced that it had filed a civil action against Jersey, Tager, and others for violating the antifraud and licensing and registration provisions of Utah law.

The SEC's complaint, among other things, charges Jersey and Tager with violating Sections 5(a), 5(c), and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 ("Securities Act") and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 ("Exchange Act") and Exchange Act Rule 10b‒5 and Gagnier, Gross, Lebarton, Shoucair with violating Sections 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act and Section 15(a)(1) of the Exchange Act. The complaint also charges Jersey and Tager with aiding and abetting each solicitor's violations of Section 15(a)(1) of the Exchange Act and each solicitor with aiding and abetting Jersey's violations of Section 17(a)(2) of the Securities Act, Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act, and Exchange Act Rule 10b‒5(b). The SEC also named, as relief defendants in its complaint, Jersey Consulting associates Matthew E. Mangum and Matthew, J. Freitas as well as Premier Marketing Solutions, Inc., Equity First Properties Inc., Roxane Marie Gross, and Christine L. Shoucair. The SEC seeks, among other relief, an asset freeze, permanent injunctions, conduct-based injunctions, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus prejudgment interest thereon, and civil penalties.

The SEC's investigation was conducted by James Thibodeau of the Salt Lake Regional Office, and the litigation will be led by Amy Oliver and Daniel Wadley. The Commission appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Utah, the FBI, the Utah Department of Commerce‒Division of Securities, and the Utah Attorney General's Office.