New Jersey Man to Pay $1.3 Million for His Role in Fraudulent Schemes

Litigation Release No. 24696 / December 20, 2019

Securities and Exchange Commission v. S. Paul Kelley, et al., Civil Action No. 2:14-cv-2827 (D. N.J., filed May 5, 2014)

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Robert S. Agriogianis of East Hanover, New Jersey agreed to pay disgorgement and prejudgment interest of more than $1.3 million for his role in two fraudulent schemes to manipulate trading using illegal reverse mergers.

The SEC filed a civil injunctive action on May 5, 2014 against Agriogianis and four other individuals alleging that they took two Chinese companies public through reverse mergers with U.S. public shell companies. The group then hid their control over the companies' stock through a vast network of U.S. and international entities, sold that stock in unregistered distributions, and manipulated trading in the stock, ultimately obtaining millions in profits as a result.

On December 18, 2019, the Honorable Stanley R. Chesler of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey ordered Agriogianis to pay disgorgement of $1,204,128 and prejudgment interest of $129,436 based upon Agriogianis' consent.

The district court previously enjoined Agriogianis from violating the anti-fraud provisions of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act) and Rule 10b-5 thereunder; the securities ownership reporting requirements of Sections 13(d) and 16(a) of the Exchange Act and Rules 13d-1, 13d-2 and 16a-3 thereunder; and the securities registration provisions of Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933, and barred him from participating in the offering of penny stock. Based on his cooperation with the SEC's investigation and subsequent litigation, Agriogianis was not ordered to pay a civil penalty.

The SEC's claims against the other defendants were previously resolved.

The Commission's investigation was led by Kurt Gottschall, who is now the Regional Director for the Denver Regional Office. The litigation was led by Leslie Hughes and Nic Heinke, and was supervised by Greg Kasper.

[SEC v. S. Paul Kelley, et al., No. 2:14-cv-2827 (D.N.J.)] (LR 22986, May 7, 2014).