Securities and Exchange Commission

Judgment Entered in Microcap Pump and Dump Scheme Targeting Elderly Retail Investors

Litigation Release No. 24971 / November 30, 2020

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Garrett M. O'Rourke and Michael J. Black, No. 19-cv-4137 (E.D.N.Y. filed July 17, 2019)

On November 30, 2020, the SEC obtained a final consent judgment against Florida resident Garrett M. O'Rourke, who was charged with running a pump and dump scheme targeting retail investors. The final judgment orders O'Rourke to pay $5,763,719 in disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus prejudgment interest.

According to the SEC's complaint, filed on July 17, 2019, O'Rourke worked with Maryland resident Michael J. Black to fraudulently sell the stock of several microcap companies to investors, including elderly retail investors, using high-pressure stock promotional campaigns. The complaint alleged that O'Rourke engaged in unsolicited cold calls to prospective investors, telling the investors that he had found promising investment opportunities. In actuality, O'Rourke sought to convince the investors to buy the stocks so that he and the people who hired him could sell their holdings in the same stocks for a profit. O'Rourke and Black also allegedly schemed to disguise their control over at least one microcap company in order to facilitate their illegal sales of the company's stock, generating millions of dollars in proceeds.

The final consent judgment against O'Rourke, entered by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, resolved all claims against him. The final judgment enjoins O'Rourke from violating the antifraud provisions of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder and of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, and the registration provisions of Section 5 of the Securities Act. The final judgment also imposes a penny stock bar and orders O'Rourke to pay $5,763,719 in disgorgement and prejudgment interest.

In a parallel action, O'Rourke and Black were also charged criminally by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York.

The SEC's litigation against Michael J. Black is ongoing.