U.S. SECURITIES & EXCHANGE COMMISSION
LITIGATION RELEASE NO. 17772 / OCTOBER 7, 2002
THE COMMISSION FILED A CIVIL CONTEMPT MOTION FILED AGAINST STEVEN E. THORN FOR FAILING TO PRODUCE FOREIGN BANK RECORDS IN VIOLATION OF APRIL 29, 2002 COURT ORDER
SEC v. Steven E. Thorn, et al., No. C2-01-290 (Judge Sargus)(S.D. Ohio)
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that it filed a motion for civil contempt against defendant Steven E. Thorn for violating an April 29, 2002 Court Order in July 24, 2002. Thorn, a resident of the Cleveland suburb of Brecksville, Ohio, is charged with having fraudulently raised over $70 million from hundreds of victims purportedly to finance trading in notes issued by European banks. The Commission has alleged that the supposed European bank trading venture does not exist and that Thorn in fact conducted a ponzi scheme. The Commission sued Thorn and others on April 2, 2001 and obtained a temporary restraining order which included a provision freezing all of Thorn's assets.
In the Court's April 29, 2002 Order stemming from Thorn's last contempt hearing on April 5, 2002, the Court had ordered Thorn, among other things, to produce all foreign bank records within his control. On July 24, 2002, the Commission filed a new motion for civil contempt against Thorn after he failed to provide any foreign bank records to the Commission. Thorn alleges that he cannot obtain his foreign bank records under foreign banking laws.
On September 6, 2002, after an evidentiary hearing on the Commission's July 24, 2002 contempt motion, the Honorable Edmund A. Sargus, Jr., United States District Judge for the Southern District of Ohio, deferred ruling on the Commission's motion and directed the newly appointed receiver to obtain those foreign bank records. In the event the receiver obtains the foreign bank records, the Court will revisit the Commission's contempt motion and decide whether to impose sanctions against Thorn at that time.