SEC Obtains Final Judgments Against Remaining Defendants in Fraudulent Stock Promotion Scheme
Litigation Release No. 24716 / January 14, 2020
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Lidingo Holdings, LLC, et al., No. 17-cv-01600 (W.D. Wa. filed Apr. 10, 2017)
On January 8, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington entered final judgments against Kamilla Bjorlin, Andrew Hodge and Brian Nichols for their roles in a fraudulent stock promotion scheme.
According to the SEC's complaint, Bjorlin and Hodge hired writers like Nichols to publish hundreds of bullish articles on behalf of clients of Lidingo Holdings. The articles appeared to be independent research pieces but, in fact, were paid advertisements.
Without admitting or denying the allegations, Bjorlin, Hodge and Nichols consented to the final judgments, which permanently enjoin them from violating the antifraud and anti-touting provisions of Sections 17(a) and 17(b) of the Securities Act, and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. In addition, Bjorlin, Hodge and Nichols were ordered to pay disgorgement, prejudgment interest and civil penalties totaling $704,672, $466,578, and $133,703 respectively. The Court also imposed five-year penny stock bars against Bjorlin and Hodge, as well as a five-year officer and director bar against Bjorlin.
The Court previously entered a final judgment against the other writer defendant, Vincent Cassano, on April 10, 2018. With entry of the final judgments against Bjorlin, Hodge and Nichols, the SEC's litigation has concluded.