U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 18423 / October 23, 2003
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION v. HEALTH MAINTENANCE CENTERS, INC., ZNETIX, INC., CASCADE POINTE OF ARIZONA, LLC, CASCADE POINTE OF NEVIS, LLC, KEVIN L. LAWRENCE, DONOVAN C. CLAFLIN, CLIFFORD G. BAIRD, BAINBRIDGE HUMAN PERFORMANCE CENTERS, PLLC, KIMBERLY ALEXANDER, BONNIE M. COUCH, STACY GRAY, and VICKI L. LAWRENCE, Civil Action No. C 02-0153 P (W.D. Wash.)
COMMISSION SETTLES WITH MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced that on October 3, 2003, the federal district court in Seattle, Washington entered a permanent injunction against defendant Clifford G. Baird, 60, of Scottsdale, Arizona, the managing director of Cascade Pointe, LLC (Cascade) and author of the book, Power of a Positive Self-Image. Based in Arizona and the Caribbean island of Nevis, Cascade touted itself as "one of the nation's premier private investment firms" and as believing in "investments based on rock-solid financials." As the Commission's complaint alleged, however, Cascade was created in order to evade a Washington state Cease-and-Desist order against Health Maintenance Centers, Inc. (HMC). The Commission's complaint alleged that HMC, Cascade and Znetix, Inc. raised more than $91 million from more than 5,000 investors nationwide with false promises of an imminent, lucrative initial public offering of Znetix.
Without admitting or denying the Commission's allegations, Baird consented to the entry of a judgment permanently enjoining him from future violations of the securities registration provisions of the federal securities laws (Sections 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act of 1933). Baird also agreed to disgorge his ill-gotten gains from the stock offerings in the amount of $374,077.36 and pay prejudgment interest in the amount of $8,875.48. The Court retained jurisdiction to determine the penalty, if any, Baird must pay for his violations of the securities registration provisions.
The Commission's case is pending against the remaining defendants, Kevin L. Lawrence, Donovan C. Claflin, and Kimberly Alexander. On July 31, 2002, a federal grand jury in Seattle returned a sixty-four count indictment, charging Lawrence with securities fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit those offenses. On July 28, 2003, Lawrence pled guilty in federal court in Tacoma, Washington to one count of securities fraud, one count of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, unlawful sale of unregistered securities, money laundering, and engaging in monetary transactions with proceeds of unlawful activity. The U.S. Attorney will recommend the imposition of a 20-year prison sentence. There are eleven other criminal defendants. Six of those, including Baird, have pled guilty. On July 30, 2002, Baird pled guilty to conspiracy to commit securities, mail and wire fraud, and money laundering, and he faces a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.