Commission Charges South Carolina Resident in Pump-And-Dump Scheme

Litigation Release No. 24940 / September 30, 2020

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Drew Morgan Ciccarelli, No. 1:20-cv-11789 (D. Mass. filed September 30, 2020)

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Charleston, South Carolina resident Drew Morgan Ciccarelli for his role in a pump-and-dump scheme in the stock of Rarus Technologies Inc, a former New York-based microcap issuer.

The Commission's complaint alleges that Ciccarelli was hired by a shareholder group that secretly controlled Rarus to promote and increase demand for Rarus stock in order for the shareholder group to sell its shares at inflated prices. According to the complaint, Ciccarelli used intermediaries he controlled to pass funds from the shareholder group to the promoters. The complaint alleges that, by using the intermediary companies, Ciccarelli concealed the shareholder group's sponsorship of the promotional campaign. According to the complaint, in exchange for arranging the stock promotion, the shareholder group paid Ciccarelli $150,000.

The Commission's complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, charges Ciccarelli with aiding and abetting violations of the registration provisions of Sections 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act of 1933 and the antifraud provisions of Sections 17(a)(1) and (3) of the Securities Act and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rules 10b-5(a) and (c) thereunder. The SEC seeks a permanent injunction, disgorgement plus prejudgment interest, civil penalties, and a penny stock bar.

The SEC's litigation will be led by J. Lauchlan Wash, Trevor Donelan, Deena Bernstein, and Amy Gwiazda of the SEC's Boston Regional Office in coordination with the Enforcement Division's Microcap Fraud Task Force. The SEC appreciates the assistance in this matter of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).