United States Securities and Exchange Commission
LITIGATION RELEASE NO. 16545 \ May 9, 2000
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Sunpoint Securities, Inc. et al. Civ. No. 6:99-CV-667 (EDTX/Tyler Division)
On May 5, 2000, Magistrate Judge Harry W. McKee of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (Tyler Division) ordered Defendant Van R. Lewis to turn over $95,084 to a bankruptcy trustee, and further ordered Lewis to perform 200 hours of community service.
The Order related to a previously filed motion by the Securities and Exchange Commission seeking to hold Lewis in contempt of court. The Commission alleged that Lewis transferred at least $75,000 from a brokerage account to an offshore bank in violation of a court order that froze his assets. Judge McKee issued the Order after Lewis offered to return $95,084 to the bankruptcy trustee, and to perform 200 hours of community service. Lewis neither admitted nor denied the allegations in the Commission's contempt motion.
On November 19, 1999, the Commission filed a civil complaint against Lewis, founder and president of Sunpoint Securities, Inc., alleging that he defrauded Sunpoint customers of approximately $25 million. The complaint alleged that Lewis, along with Sunpoint's chief financial officer, Mary Ellen Wilder, engaged in a fraudulent scheme by diverting customer funds for unauthorized and undisclosed purposes.
Immediately after the filing of the complaint, Sunpoint was referred to a federal bankruptcy court, and Robert G. Richardson of Dallas, Texas, was appointed trustee for Sunpoint. The Commission and the trustee are continuing to investigate how customer funds were used. Lewis and Wilder have asserted their rights under the Fifth Amendment to the charges alleged in the complaint, and with respect to all discovery requests issued to them.