SEC Charges Purported Luxury Concierge Business and Its Owner in Offering Fraud
Litigation Release No. 25236 / September 29, 2021
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Gregory L. Ciccone, et al., No. 2:21-cv-17768 (D.N.J. filed September 29, 2021)
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed an action against Gregory A. Ciccone and his entity Platinum Travel and Entertainment, LLC, alleging that the defendants made false statements in raising over $1.5 million from investors in an unregistered offering of securities for a travel concierge business, but instead fraudulently diverted all the money raised.
According to the SEC's complaint, which was filed today in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, Platinum and Ciccone offered and sold promissory notes to 22 investors for the represented purpose of securing hotel reservations as part of Platinum's high-end luxury travel concierge business. The complaint alleges, however, that the defendants did not use investor funds for this purpose, and instead misappropriated the majority of the investor funds for Ciccone's personal expenses, including the purchase of a luxury car, and for Ponzi-like payments to earlier investors. In addition, the complaint alleges that Ciccone created numerous false documents in response to various investor inquiries, including a false email from a bank and a fake bank statement. As alleged, at the time of the offering, Ciccone was on supervised release after serving a prison sentence for a prior criminal conviction for fraud.
The complaint charges Ciccone and Platinum 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 the securities registration provisions of Sections 5(a) and (c) of the Securities Act, and charges Ciccone with carrying out his fraudulent activities through and by means of others as prohibited by Section 20(b) of the Exchange Act. The SEC seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest, and civil penalties. The SEC also seeks against Ciccone a conduct-based injunction and an officer and director bar. In addition, the SEC seeks disgorgement of ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest from relief defendant Platinum Enterprises & Concierge Services, Inc., another entity Ciccone controls.
The SEC's investigation was conducted by Matthew L. Skidmore and supervised by Mary S. Brady and Jason J. Burt. The litigation will be led by Leslie J. Hughes and supervised by Gregory A. Kasper. The SEC investigation is continuing.