SEC Charges Medical Device Company The Eye Machine and Founder Pocklington With Fraud
Litigation Release No. 24098 / April 5, 2018
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Peter H. Pocklington, Lantson E. Eldred, Terrence J. Walton, Yolanda C. Velazquez a/k/a Lana Velazquez a/k/a Lana Puleo, Vanessa Puleo, Robert A. Vanetten, Nova Oculus Partners, LLC f/k/a The Eye Machine, LLC, and AMC Holdings, LLC, Civil Action No. 5:18-cv-00701 (C.D. Cal.)
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged convicted felon and former NHL team owner Peter H. Pocklington, his medical device company, and others with defrauding investors by hiding Pocklington's recidivist history and by misappropriating investor funds.
The SEC alleges that in 2010, Pocklington pleaded guilty to a federal felony perjury charge and was later ordered to pay over $5 million as part of a settlement for unrelated state securities fraud and registration charges. Pocklington subsequently founded and now controls California-based The Eye Machine, LLC (now known as Nova Oculus Partners, LLC), a medical device company that raised over $14 million between 2014 and 2017 from more than 260 investors in unregistered offerings.
According to the SEC's complaint, Pocklington and his attorney, Lantson E. Eldred, structured the ownership of The Eye Machine to conceal Pocklington's role with the company and held Eldred out as the company's "visual front." In the offerings, Pocklington, Eldred, and The Eye Machine allegedly failed to disclose Pocklington's checkered history and involvement, and misrepresented how investor funds would be spent. Pocklington allegedly misappropriated over $600,000 of investor funds for personal use, including funding his gold mining companies and paying personal legal and credit card bills. The complaint also alleges that The Eye Machine paid millions of dollars in undisclosed and excessive sales commissions to defendants Yolanda C. Velazquez, Vanessa Puleo, and Robert A. Vanetten, who acted as unregistered brokers for the company. According to the complaint, Velazquez - whom the SEC previously barred from acting as a broker-dealer - and Puleo used "boiler room" operations in Florida to "cold call" investors.
The Commission's complaint, filed in federal court in California, charges: (i) The Eye Machine, Pocklington, Eldred, Velazquez, Puleo, and Vanetten with violations of Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933 ("Securities Act"); (ii) The Eye Machine, AMC Holdings, Pocklington, and Eldred with violations of Sections 17(a)(1) and (3) of the Securities Act and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 ("Exchange Act") and Rules 10b-5(a) and (c) thereunder; (iii) Walton with violations of Section 17(a)(3) of the Securities Act; (iv) The Eye Machine, AMC Holdings, and Pocklington with violations of Section 17(a)(2) of the Securities Act; (v) The Eye Machine, Pocklington, and Eldred with violations of Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5(b) thereunder; (vi) Pocklington and Eldred with aiding and abetting The Eye Machine's primary violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act and Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5; (vii) Pocklington as the control person of The Eye Machine under Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act for The Eye Machine's violations of Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder; (viii) Velazquez, Puleo, and Vanetten with violations of Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act; and (ix) Velazquez with violating Section 15(b)(6)(B)(i) of the Exchange Act. The complaint seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement and interest, and penalties. The complaint also names Eva S. Pocklington, DTR Holdings, LLC, Cobra Chemical, LLC, and Gold Star Resources, LLC as relief defendants.
The SEC's investigation was conducted by Kathryn C. Wanner and Maria Rodriguez and supervised by Victoria A. Levin of the SEC's Los Angeles Regional Office. The litigation will be led by Douglas M. Miller and supervised by Amy J. Longo.