SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
LITIGATION RELEASE NO. 17567 / June 17, 2002
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION v. P. JOSEPH VERTUCCI, BRUCE E. STRAUGHN, ROBERT V. PETRY, ROLAND R. BAUGHMAN, RICHARD M. JOHNSON, EDWARD MEYER, JR., and HAZLET INVESTORS, INC. (Defendants), and JOANNE C. STRAUGHN (Relief Defendant), Civil Action No. 5:99CV426 (N.D. Ohio).
LAST TWO CONSENT JUDGMENTS ENTERED IN SECURITIES FRAUD CASE ARISING FROM SCHEME TO PUMP AND DUMP THE STOCK OF INTERACTIVE MULTIMEDIA PUBLISHERS, INC.
The Honorable Dan Aaron Polster, United States District Judge for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, has entered consent judgments as to Defendants Richard M. Johnson and Edward Meyer, Jr. (and Meyer's now-defunct corporate alter-ego, Hazlet Investors, Inc.) arising from their involvement in a 1996 scheme to pump and dump the stock of Interactive MultiMedia Publishers, Inc. ("IMP"), an Akron, Ohio software development firm that is now defunct. Without admitting or denying the allegations in the Commission's complaint, Johnson, Meyer and Hazlet Investors consented to judgments that permanently enjoin them from violations of the registration, antifraud and antitouting provisions of the federal securities laws (Sections 5(a), 5(c) and 17(b) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder). The consent judgment against Meyer and Hazlet Investors also orders them to disgorge $75,000 in stock sale proceeds. On the basis of their representations in sworn financial statements and other documents and information furnished to the Commission, payment of additional disgorgement by Meyer and Hazlet Investors was waived and civil penalties were not imposed. On the basis of Johnson's sworn representations in his Chapter 7 bankruptcy schedules, payment of disgorgement by Johnson was waived and civil penalties were not imposed.
The consent judgment against Meyer and Hazlet Investors was filed on May 20, 2002 and the consent judgment against Johnson was filed on May 31, 2002.
This enforcement action was part of the Commission's four-pronged approach to minimizing Microcap fraud: enforcement, inspections, investor education, and regulation. For more information about the SEC's response to Microcap fraud, visit the SEC's Microcap Fraud Information Center at: http://www.sec.gov/divisions/enforce/microcap.htm
See also Litigation Releases 16069 (February 24, 1999), 16565 (May 25, 2000) and 17519 (May 15, 2002).