U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Litigation Release No. 18398 / October 8, 2003
Securities and Exchange Commission v Amazon Natural Treasures, Inc., Michael A. Sylver and Domingos Loricchio Jr., Civ. No. CVS-01-0229 (D. Nev.)
The Commission announced the entry of judgments after trial against Amazon Natural Treasures.com, formerly Amazon Natural Treasures, Inc., and Michael A. Sylver, both of Las Vegas, Nevada. Both were permanently enjoined from further violations of Sections 5 and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. Amazon was further enjoined from violations of Sections 13(a), 13(b)(2)(A) and (B) of the Exchange Act and Rules 10b-5, 12b-20, 12b-25, 13a-1, 13a-13, and 13b2-1. Sylver was further enjoined from violations of Rule 13b2-2 of the Exchange Act and from aiding and abetting Amazon's violations of Sections 13(a), 13(b)(2)(A) and (B) of the Exchange Act and Rules 10b-5, 12b-20, 12b-25, 13a-1, 13a-13, and 13b2-1 thereunder. Sylver was permanently barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company, assessed a third-tier civil penalty of $120,000, and ordered to disgorge the following: $32,000, consisting of personal expenses he charged against the company's American Express card; $200,000, consisting of cash withdrawals he made from the company's bank accounts which were not shown to be for corporate purposes; and all purported "promissory notes" which Sylver contended reflected outstanding loans to him from Amazon. The face amount of these purported loans was approximately $1.5 million. On August 2, 2003, the Court denied a motion by Sylver and Amazon for a new trial.
The case involved antifraud, bookkeeping, internal controls, reporting and securities registration violations by Sylver and Amazon between 1997 and 2000. At relevant times, Amazon sold dietary supplements derived from plants grown in the Amazon rain forest in Brazil. According to the Commission's complaint, from at least 1997 through March 2000, Amazon and Sylver made numerous false and misleading statements concerning Amazon's operations, products and revenues. Among other misrepresentations, Amazon and Sylver claimed that the company had an "AIDS prevention cream" available for sale. Throughout the period of these ongoing fraudulent public statements, Sylver and Amazon also sold millions of shares of stock to the public in unregistered, non-exempt transactions. Amazon also failed to create and maintain adequate books and records and internal controls, and has failed to file any periodic reports with the Commission since September 1999.