SEC Obtains Asset Freeze to Halt Alleged Offering Fraud

Litigation Release No. 24688 / December 11, 2019

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Nanotech Engineering, Inc., Michael James Sweaney (also known as Michael Hatton), David Sweaney, and Jeffery Gange, No. 1:19-cv-03633 (D.C., filed December 5, 2019, unsealed December 9, 2019)

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it has obtained a temporary restraining order and asset freeze against a California solar panel company and three executives who allegedly defrauded more than 100 investors.

According to the SEC's complaint, Nanotech Engineering Inc., CFO Michael James Sweaney, also known as Michael Hatton, CEO David Sweaney, and COO Jeffery Gange have been engaged in an ongoing fraudulent offering of Nanotech's securities. While raising capital purportedly to fund Nanotech's development of solar panels using nanotechnology, the defendants allegedly diverted more than $2.4 million of investor funds for personal expenses, including luxury vehicles, a yacht named the Bella Vita, and cosmetic surgery. The complaint also alleges that the defendants are actively concealing from investors Michael Sweaney's prior felony securities fraud conviction.

The SEC's complaint, filed in federal court in the District of Columbia on Dec. 5 and unsealed on Dec. 9, charges Nanotech Engineering and the three executives with violating the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and charges Michael James Sweaney, David Sweaney, and Gange with aiding and abetting Nanotech Engineering's violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act and Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The complaint seeks emergency relief as well as permanent injunctions, return of allegedly ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest, and civil penalties. The complaint also names entities controlled by the defendants, Nanotech Finance LLC, Omni Golf LLC, and 3 Dragons LLC, as relief defendants.

The SEC's investigation, which is ongoing, is being conducted by Pei Chung with assistance from Jeffrey Anderson and Elizabeth Doisy. The case has been supervised by Deborah A. Tarasevich and Antonia Chion. The litigation will be led by Gregory Bockin and Christopher Bruckmann, under the supervision of Stephan Schlegelmilch.