U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 17537 / May 28, 2002
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Gold-Ventures Club and Alexander Khamidouline, d/b/a www.gold-ventures.net, Case No. 1:02-CV-1434 (CAP) (N.D. Ga., filed May 28, 2002)
SEC BRINGS EMERGENCY ACTION AGAINST
Russian-based Gold-Ventures Club Defrauded Investors and
On May 28, 2002, the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") filed a complaint and obtained an ex parte temporary restraining order, asset freeze and other relief enjoining Gold-Ventures Club ("Gold Ventures") and Alexander Khamidouline, d/b/a www.gold-ventures.net, from violating the antifraud and securities registration provisions of the federal securities laws. The SEC's complaint against Gold Ventures and Khamidouline, a resident of Russia, alleges that since at least March 2002, they have defrauded investors through Gold Ventures' website, www.gold-ventures.net, and mass "spam" e-mail campaigns directed to potential investors in the United States. According to the SEC's complaint, Gold Ventures' website falsely guarantees investors that they will receive risk-free returns of 200% every 14 days. The SEC's complaint alleges that the investment terms offered by Gold Ventures - short-term, fixed financial returns that are both exorbitant and risk-free - are patently fraudulent and are typical of Ponzi and Prime Bank schemes. Gold Ventures' website claims to have 900 members in its investment program, according to the complaint.
The complaint also alleges that after Gold Ventures became aware of the SEC's investigation, Gold Ventures impersonated an SEC staff attorney in an attempt to blackmail an investor into sending more money to Gold Ventures. According to the complaint, one of Gold Ventures' investors received an e-mail that purported to come from an SEC staff attorney (but that was actually sent by Gold Ventures), promising to close the SEC's investigation if the investor sent additional funds to an account controlled by Gold Ventures.
The SEC's complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, charges Gold Ventures and Khamidouline with violating Sections 5(a), 5(c) and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. In addition to the temporary restraining order and asset freeze ordered by the court, the SEC seeks preliminary and permanent injunctions, disgorgement plus prejudgment interest, as well as monetary penalties against Khamidouline. The SEC is also working with Russian securities regulators to carry out the emergency relief ordered by the court.