U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 19448 / October 31, 2005
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION v. BILL L. STAPLETON, Civil Action No. 04-3224 (C.D. Ill.)
FORMER STOCKBROKER SETTLES FRAUD CASE WITH SEC, AGREES TO BE BARRED FROM THE SECURITIES INDUSTRY, AND IS SENTENCED FOLLOWING HIS GUILTY PLEA FOR MAIL FRAUD IN PARALLEL FEDERAL CRIMINAL CASE
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that it reached a settlement of its pending fraud charges against Bill L. Stapleton, a former stockbroker and retired U.S. Army Sergeant. The Commission's complaint, originally filed on October 1, 2004, alleged that, while he was working as a stockbroker in Germany, Stapleton fraudulently misappropriated at least $253,252 from three U.S.-citizen investor victims working in the U.S. Department of Defense community there, and sent the funds to an account he controlled in Springfield, Illinois.
On October 21, 2005, the Hon. Jeanne E. Scott, United States District Judge for the Central District of Illinois, entered a Judgment of Permanent Injuction and Other Relief against Stapleton that (i) permanently enjoins him from future violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder; (ii) orders him to fully cooperate in asset discovery; and (iii) provides that the amount of civil penalties, disgorgement and prejudgment interest will be determined by the Court at a subsequent hearing, during which the allegations of the Complaint will be accepted as and deemed true by the Court. Stapleton consented to the entry of the Judgment without admitting or denying the allegations in the Commission's Complaint.
Also today, based upon the entry of the injunction, the Commission instituted and simultaneously settled an administrative proceeding pursuant to Section 15(b)(6) of the Exchange Act. Stapleton consented, without admitting or denying the Commission's factual findings, to an order barring him from association with any broker or dealer.
At a hearing held in a related criminal proceeding on October 14, 2005, also before Judge Scott, Stapleton was sentenced to a term of 28 months in prison based on his conviction for mail fraud arising from the same underlying conduct alleged in the Commission's complaint. (Stapleton had entered a guilty plea to the mail fraud charge on June 9, 2005.) Judge Scott also ordered Stapleton to pay criminal restitution totaling $262,101 to the three victims of the fraud.
The Commission's complaint alleged that Stapleton's victims included an active-duty U.S. Army Sergeant, a U.S. Defense Department civilian schoolteacher and a civilian employee of a U.S. defense contractor, all of whom resided in Germany. The complaint alleged that Stapleton was associated with Nalico Equity Corporation, which is a U.S.-registered broker-dealer having offices in Texas and in Europe, at the time of his offending conduct. The complaint further alleged that, in each instance, after persuading the victim to give him funds for investment, Stapleton invested only a portion of the funds as instructed, misappropriating the rest. Stapleton, the complaint further charged, supplied phony account statements to two of his three victims for several years thereafter to conceal his theft. Finally, the complaint alleged that Stapleton fled Germany in August 2001 when questions were raised concerning funds that appeared to be missing from his automobile insurance business; and that Stapleton subsequently resided in El Paso, Texas and worked at an automobile dealership there. (See Lit. Rel. No. 18960/November 4, 2004.)
The Commission acknowledges the assistance of the United States Attorneys' Office for the Central District of Illinois, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Illinois Secretary of State's Securities Division.