SEC Charges Southern California Beverage Company with Fraudulent Stock Sales

Litigation Release No. 25206 / September 15, 2021

Securities and Exchange Commission v. SHE Beverage Company, Inc. Lupe L. Rose, Sonja F. Shelby and Katherine E. Dirden, No. 2:21-cv-07339 (C.D. Cal. filed September 14, 2021)

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Southern California beverage company SHE Beverage Company, Inc. and its principals Lupe L. Rose, Sonja F. Shelby, and Katherine E. Dirden with fraudulently raising millions of dollars from investors across the United States.

According to the SEC's complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, SHE Beverage produces beverages targeting female customers. The complaint alleges that between 2017 and 2019, SHE Beverage and its principals raised over $15 million from stock sales to more than 2,000 investors by falsely representing that they would use 30% of the offering proceeds to purchase beverage inventory. In fact, they allegedly spent only approximately 2% on inventory, and instead spent more than $7.5 million on personal expenses and unexplained cash transactions. The complaint further alleges that, lacking significant beverage sales, the company and its principals continued to raise money from investors by falsely promoting the company as being successful in a variety of ways.

The SEC's complaint charges the defendants with violating the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, as well as the offering registration provisions of Sections 5(a) and (c) of the Securities Act of 1933. The SEC seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest, and civil penalties against all defendants, and officer and director bars against Rose, Shelby, and Dirden.

The SEC's investigation was conducted by Janet Rich Weissman and was supervised by Ansu N. Banerjee of the Los Angeles Regional Office. The litigation will be led by Amy Jane Longo.