U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
LITIGATION RELEASE NO. 18317 / August 29, 2003
UNITED STATES vs. JEROME M. WENGER, (D. Utah, Case no. 2:99 CR 260)
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION vs. PANWORLD MINERALS INTERNATIONAL INC., ROBERT G. WEEKS, KENNETH L. WEEKS, DAVID A. HESTERMAN, LARRY KRASNY, L.K. MANAGEMENT, INC., JOSEPH FABIILLI, PURITAN COMMUNICATIONS, INC., AND JEROME WENGER, (D. Utah, Case no. 2:97 CV 0425)
WENGER CONVICTED OF TOUTING STOCK ON RADIO WITHOUT DISCLOSING COMPENSATION RECEIVED FROM UTAH COMPANY
On August 26, 2003, a federal jury convicted Jerome M. Wenger on criminal charges for failing to disclose in 1994 that he had been paid 2.1 million shares of PanWorld Minerals International stock (PWLM) to recommend on his nationally-syndicated radio shows and newsletters titled "The Next SuperStock" that investors buy PanWorld's stock. The jury in the United States District Court for the Central District of Utah also found that Wenger failed to disclose that he was recommending investors should buy at the same time he was selling PanWorld stock that he owned. Wenger was convicted of two counts of violating Section 17(b) of the Securities Act of 1933, the provision that requires persons publishing information about stocks to disclose if they have received compensation from a public company to make the recommendation and the amount of compensation, and one count of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5, which prohibit persons from making false statements or omitting material facts in connection with the sale of securities. Sentencing in this matter is set for November 17, 2003.
During 1994 and continuing into 1997, Wenger, who was based in Bethesda, Maryland, recommended penny stocks and other low-price securities on his radio shows that were broadcast weekly in Washington D.C., New York, Miami, Phoenix, Chicago, Seattle and other locations. He also published bi-monthly newsletters to investors recommending his stock picks. Although he often disclosed he was a paid consultant, Wenger failed to disclose, in both the radio shows and the newsletters that discussed PanWorld, the amount of compensation that he had received to include the company in his recommendations. During 1994, Wenger sold over $100,000 of PanWorld stock at the same time he was telling investors to purchase it without disclosing his sales. PanWorld Minerals International, a now-defunct mining company, had offices located in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil injunctive action against Wenger in June 1997 in the United States District Court for Utah, and alleged that Wenger violated the securities registration, touting, and anti-fraud provisions of Sections 5(a) and (c), 17(a) and (b) of the Securities Act, and Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5. This civil action has been stayed until the criminal case was resolved. For more information on the civil action, see the SEC's earlier Litigation Release No. 15380.