UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
LITIGATION RELEASE NO. 17414 / March 14, 2002
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION v. MARK E. RICE D/B/A PRIMEX CAPITAL, Civ. No. H:02CV00636 (USDC S.D. Texas)
The Commission announced today that on March 5, 2002, U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore entered an injunction by consent against Mark E. Rice d/b/a Primex Capital ("Rice"). The Commission's complaint alleges that between September 1999 and July 2000, Rice carried out "pump and dump" schemes to manipulate the stock of four microcap companies, including defendant Status Wines of Tuscany f/k/a Portalzone.com, Inc. ("Portalzone"). The complaint further alleges that Rice issued unsolicited fraudulent "spam" e-mail messages, press releases and other promotional materials about the four companies and engaged in manipulative trading in the stock of two of those companies. According to the Commission's complaint, the false statements concerned, among other things, Portalzone's product (purportedly an advanced Internet search engine), its revenue sources and business relationships with third parties, as well as Rice's stock-picking track record and trading intentions. Moreover, the Commission's complaint alleges that the schemes enabled Rice, and his alter ego entities, relief defendants Primex (USA), Inc. ("Primex") and Applegate Sentry, S.A. ("Applegate"), to sell restricted stock of three of the four companies into the resulting inflated market for total profits of approximately $900,367.
The Court's order enjoins Rice from future violations of Sections 5(a), 5(c) and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 ("Securities Act"), Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 ("Exchange Act") and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and Regulation M, Rule 101. The Commission's claims for disgorgement and civil penalties against the defendants and relief defendants are pending.
For tips on how to avoid Internet "pump-and-dump" stock manipulation schemes, visit http://www.sec.gov/investor/online/pump.htm. For more information about Internet fraud, visit http://www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/cyberfraud.htm. To report suspicious activity involving possible Internet fraud, visit http://www.sec.gov/complaint.htm