U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 20016 / February 26, 2007
SEC v. Platinum Capital Advocates, Inc., Platinum Capital Advocates Elite, Inc., Stephen P. Amella, Andre Hayden, and Strategic Management Alliance, Inc., Civil Action No. 07CV985 (N.D. Ill.) (Holderman, J.)
The Securities and Exchange Commission ("Commission") announced that on February 21, 2007, the Honorable James F. Holderman of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois issued a Temporary Restraining Order and an Order of Preliminary Injunction (the "Orders") against Platinum Capital Advocates, Inc. ("PCA"), Platinum Capital Advocates Elite, Inc. ("PCA Elite"), Stephen P. Amella ("Amella"), Andre Hayden ("Hayden"), and Strategic Management Alliance , Inc. ("Strategic Management"). The Orders, among other things, imposed an asset freeze against PCA, PCA Elite and Strategic Management in addition to other emergency relief.
The Commission's civil injunctive complaint, filed earlier the same day, alleged that Defendants PCA, PCA Elite, Amella, Hayden and Strategic Management violated the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws. According to allegations in the Commission's complaint, Amella and Hayden, through three companies they control, PCA, PCA Elite and Strategic Management, solicited investors to purchase preferred shares of PCA and PCA Elite. The Commission's complaint alleged that in the offer and sale of shares of PCA and PCA Elite, Amella and Hayden informed investors that:
- Their investment would result in returns of 10% to 15% per month, when in fact there was no basis for such returns;
- Invested funds would be safe based on certain procedures implemented to protect investor principal, when in fact no such procedures have been implemented;
- PCA and PCA Elite are associated with reputable entities such as Archer Daniels Midland Company, when in fact no such association exists; and
- Investor funds would be used to invest in real estate or currency trading and that dividends would be based on earnings in such investments, when in fact dividends thus far were paid not based on earnings but were taken from investor principal, exhibiting characteristics of the early stages of a Ponzi Scheme.
The Commission's complaint further alleged that, based on the above misrepresentations, Amella and Hayden, through PCA and PCA Elite, raised at least $1.3 million from approximately 27 investors in four states. Finally, the complaint alleges that, as a result of their conduct, Amella, Hayden, PCA, PCA Elite and Strategic Management violated Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder.
The Commission acknowledges the assistance of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The Commission also acknowledges the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation which conducted its own separate, parallel investigation.