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U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission

Litigation Release No. 18065 / April 2, 2003

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Vestron Financial Corp., et al., Case No. 01-4269-CIV-SEITZ (USDC/SD FL)

The Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission) and the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida announced that on March 18, 2003, the United States Attorney's Office issued a federal indictment charging Salman Shariff with ten counts of mail fraud, seven counts of wire fraud, seven counts of securities fraud, and nineteen counts of money laundering. If convicted, Shariff faces a maximum penalty of five years' incarceration on each mail and wire fraud count, ten years' incarceration on each securities fraud count, and ten to twenty years' incarceration on the money laundering counts. Shariff's whereabouts are currently unknown.

The indictment alleges that from at least March 1996 through June 2001, Shariff was the President of Vestron Financial Corporation (Vestron Financial), a North Carolina corporation that Shariff used to sell partnership interests in several entities he controlled, including Vestron Investment Club, Crescent Capital Partners LP, and Crescent Capital Offshore Fund (collectively referred to as Vestron entities), raising about $11 million from investors nationwide. The partnership interests were sold to investors who were told that Shariff would invest their money in securities and commodities in return for a prearranged fee. According to the indictment, Shariff misappropriated millions of dollars from investors for his own use and benefit by making material misrepresentations and omitting to state material facts concerning the use of investor funds and the profitability of investments made through or on behalf of the Vestron entities.

The indictment derives from the same activity that led to the Commission's filing of its complaint against Shariff in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida on October 16, 2001. The Commission charged Shariff with violations of Sections 5(a), 5(c) and 17(a) of the Securities Act, Sections 10(b) and 15(a)(1) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and Sections 206(1) and 206(2) of the Investment Advisers Act. On March 27, 2002, the United States District Court entered a default judgment of permanent injunction and other relief against Shariff. The final judgment permanently enjoined Shariff from future violations of the above stated provisions of the federal securities laws. On January 9, 2003, the Commission issued an Order Entering Default, Making Findings, and Imposing Remedial Sanctions, pursuant to Section 15(b) of the Exchange Act and Section 203(f) of the Advisers Act, which barred Shariff from association with any broker, dealer, or investment adviser.



Modified: 04/03/2003