Securities and Exchange Commission
Litigation Release No. 18043 / March 20, 2003
Court Grants SEC Summary Judgment Against Defendant Aziz-Golshani in NEI Webworld Internet Stock Manipulation Case
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Arash Aziz-Golshani et al., U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (Civil Action No. 99-13139) (CBM)
The Securities and Exchange Commission ("Commission") announced that on March 13, 2003, the Honorable Consuelo B. Marshall, U.S. District Judge for the Central District of California granted summary judgment against Arash Aziz-Golshani permanently enjoining him from violations of the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws and ordering him to pay disgorgement in the amount of $339,392 plus prejudgment interest of $82,696.44. This ruling resolves the only remaining issue in the case, Aziz-Golshani's alleged manipulation of the stock price of eleven issuers from April 1999 through October 1999 by spreading false information on Internet message boards. Aziz-Golshani is the sole remaining defendant in the case; each of the other named defendants has settled with the Commission. See Lit. Rel. No.16867 (January 23, 2001). This ruling brings to approximately $1 million the amount of money the Court has ordered defendants to pay in disgorgement and penalties in this case.
This case arose out of the Commission's December 15, 1999 complaint, which alleged that Arash Aziz-Golshani and others accumulated shares of thinly traded NEIP and then disseminated false statements on the Internet in November 1999 that NEIP would be acquired by another company. Aziz-Golshani and others then profited by selling their shares into the rising market demand. See Lit. Rel.16391 (December 15, 1999). On July 6, 2000, the Commission amended its complaint to allege that Aziz-Golshani and another defendant also had manipulated the prices of the eleven other stocks at issue in the Court's present ruling. See Lit. Rel.16620 (July 6, 2000). On May 23, 2001, the Court granted the Commission partial summary judgment against Aziz-Golshani for his role in the alleged manipulation of NEI Webworld, Inc. (NEIP). The Court required Aziz-Golshani to pay disgorgement of $152,742.50 and imposed a civil penalty in the same amount.
In a parallel criminal case concerning NEIP, on January 22, 2001, Aziz-Golshani was sentenced to 15 months incarceration and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $566,433. See Lit. Rel.16620Lit. Rel. No.16867 (January 23, 2001). Aziz-Golshani's disgorgement obligation in the SEC's civil case shall be reduced by the amount of restitution Aziz-Golshani actually pays in the criminal case.