SEC Suspends Trading in the Securities of Gulf Alternative Energy Corporation
The Commission today announced the temporary suspension, pursuant to Section 12(k) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 of trading in the securities of Gulf Alternative Energy Corporation, at 9:30 a.m. EDT, July 31, 2009, through 11:59 p.m. EDT, on Aug. 13, 2009.
The Commission temporarily suspended trading in these securities because of questions regarding the accuracy of statements made by Gulf Alternative Energy Corporation in press releases to investors and on its website concerning the quality of the company's technology and the company's business prospects and agreements.
Gulf Alternative Energy Corporation, a company that has made no public filings with the Commission, is quoted on the Pink OTC Markets under the ticker symbol GAEC. See In the Matter of Gulf Alternative Energy Corporation. (Rel. 34-60410)
Notice of Proposed Distribution Plan and Opportunity for Comment in the Matter of Strong Capital Management, et al.
On July 30, 2009, the Commission gave notice that, pursuant to Rule 1103 of the Securities and Exchange Commission's Rules on Fair Fund and Disgorgement Plans, the Division of Enforcement has submitted a proposed distribution plan (Distribution Plan) for the distribution of monies placed into a Fair Fund pursuant to Section 308(a) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 in the Matter of Strong Capital Management, Inc. (SCM), et al., Administrative Proceeding File No. 3-11498. As proposed in the Distribution Plan, if approved, eligible investors will receive their proportionate share of $140.75 million in disgorgement and civil penalties paid by Respondents SCM, Richard S. Strong, and Anthony D'Amato, plus accumulated interest, to compensate such investors for harm they may have suffered as a result of market timing in the following 24 mutual funds during various periods, as described in the Distribution Plan, from 1998 through 2003: Small Company Value; All Cap Value; Large Cap Growth; Opportunity; Government Securities; Discovery; International Stock; Asia Pacific; Growth; Small Cap; Multi Cap Growth; Growth 20; Balanced Asset; Dow 30 Value; Large Cap Core; Overseas; Enterprise; Mid Cap Disciplined; U.S. Emerging Growth; Technology 100; Advisor U.S. Value; Advisor Mid Cap Growth; Advisor Small Cap Value; and High-Yield Bond.
Any interested parties may print a copy of the proposed Distribution Plan from the Commission's public website, www.sec.gov. Interested parties may also obtain a written copy of the proposed Distribution Plan by submitting a written request to Kara M. Washington, United States Securities and Exchange Commission, 175 West Jackson Boulevard, Suite 900, Chicago, Illinois 60604. All persons who desire to comment on the proposed Distribution Plan may submit their comments, in writing, no later than August 31, 2009, to the Office of the Secretary, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, DC 20549-1090, or by using the Commission's Internet comment form (http://www.sec.gov/litigation/admin.shtml), or by sending an e-mail to email@example.com. Please include the Administrative Proceeding File Number (Admin. Proc. File No. 3-11498) on the subject line. Comments received will be publicly available. Persons should submit only information that they wish to make publicly available.
For more information, see Rel. Nos. 34-49741, IA-2239 and IC-26448 and File No. 3-11498. (Rel. 34-60406; File No. 3-11498)
In the Matter of in Warehouse Club, Inc.
An Administrative Law Judge has issued an Order Making Findings and Revoking Registrations by Default as to Four Respondents (Default Order) in Warehouse Club, Inc., Administrative Proceeding No. 3-13519. The Order Instituting Proceedings alleged that five Respondents failed repeatedly to file required annual and quarterly reports while their securities were registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Default Order finds these allegations to be true as to four Respondents and revokes the registrations of each class of registered securities of Warehouse Club, Inc., Wavemat, Inc., Wilson Lee Engineering Co., Inc. (n/k/a Lee Wilson Engineering Co., Inc.), and WorldCall Corp., pursuant to Section 12(j) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
The proceeding is still pending as to Respondent Winthrop Resources Corp. (Rel. 34-60404; File No. 3-13519)
In the Matter of in iJoin Systems, Inc.
An Administrative Law Judge has issued an Order Making Findings and Revoking Registrations by Default as to Six Respondents (Default Order) in iJoin Systems, Inc., Administrative Proceeding No. 3-13517. The Order Instituting Proceedings (OIP) alleged that seven Respondents failed repeatedly to file required annual and quarterly reports while their securities were registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission). The Default Order finds these allegations to be true as to six Respondents. It revokes the registrations of each class of registered securities of iJoin Systems, Inc., I-Tel Networks, Inc., I-Transaction.net, Inc., IITC Holdings, Ltd., Iksorb Enterprises, Inc., and The Imagemakers Photography, Inc., pursuant to Section 12(j) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
The Commission has previously accepted an Offer of Settlement from iGenisys, Inc., the other Respondent named in the OIP. (Rel. 34-60411; File No. 3-13517)
In the Matter of in CentreInvest, Inc.
An Administrative Law Judge has issued an Order Making Findings and Revoking Registrations by Default as to CentreInvest, Inc., Dan Rapoport, and Svyatoslav Yenin (Default Order) in CentreInvest, Inc., Administrative Proceeding No. 3-13304. The Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission) issued its Order Instituting Proceedings (OIP) on Dec. 8, 2008, alleging that the Respondents violated several provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act) dealing with broker-dealer registration, reporting, and record-keeping. With regard to the other Respondents named in the OIP, the proceeding has been stayed as to Respondents Vladimir Chekholko and William Herlyn, pending Commission review of Offers of Settlement, and is still pending as to OOO CentreInvest Securities.
As relates to the Defaulting Respondents, the OIP alleged that Rapoport illegally effected transactions in securities without being associated with a Commission-registered broker-dealer in violation of Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act. Further, CentreInvest, Inc., and Yenin aided and abetted and caused a related violation of Exchange Act Section 15(a) allegedly committed by OOO CentreInvest Securities. The OIP also alleged that CentreInvest, Inc., through Yenin, failed to disclose required information in its registration application with the Commission in violation of Exchange Act Rule 15a-3 and failed to maintain and/or produce required business-related emails in violation of Section 17(a) and Rules 17a-4(b)(4) and 17a-4(j) of the Exchange Act.
The Default Order finds these allegations of the OIP to be true as to CentreInvest, Inc., Rapoport, and Yenin. To protect the public interest, it orders that CentreInvest, Inc., cease and desist from committing or causing any violations, or any future violations, of Sections 15(a) and 17(a) and Rules 15b3-1, 17a-4(b)(4), and 17a-4(j) of the Exchange Act; that Rapoport cease and desist from committing or causing any violations, or any future violations, of Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act, and that Yenin cease and desist from committing or causing any violations, or any future violations, of Sections 15(a) and 17(a) and Rules 15b3-1 and 17a-4(b)(4) of the Exchange Act. The Default Order also revokes the broker-dealer registration of CentreInvest, Inc., and bars Rapoport and Yenin from association with any broker or dealer. Additionally, it orders CentreInvest, Inc., and Yenin to disgorge ill-gotten gains of $441,972 and $68,034.36, respectively, plus prejudgment interest, and orders Rapoport to provide an accounting of his relevant income. Finally, third-tier civil monetary penalties were ordered, requiring CentreInvest, Inc., to pay $1,575,000 and requiring Rapoport and Yenin to pay $555,000 each. (Rel. 34-60413; File No. 3-13304)
SEC Charges Idaho Investment Adviser in Multi-Million Dollar Ponzi Scheme
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged an Idaho investment adviser with operating a Ponzi scheme in which he stole more than $1.5 million from investors through an investment fund that he managed.
The SEC alleges that Steven E. Tennies and his company, Price Geld & Company, fraudulently obtained millions of dollars from dozens of investors in several states by selling limited partnership interests in his now defunct Adeona Fund. Instead of investing the money as he claimed he would, Tennies siphoned money out of the fund for personal use. To conceal his fraud, Tennies gave investors fabricated tax documents and account statements claiming phony returns.
The SEC's complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, alleges that Tennies told investors that they could expect positive returns during all market cycles through a proprietary trading strategy in liquid and exchange-traded securities. Tennies then allegedly led investors to believe that their money was invested in the Adeona Fund and that the fund was posting consistent, positive returns.
The SEC alleges that Tennies actually commingled investor funds with his personal accounts and used fund assets to pay his personal expenses, which included hundreds of thousands of dollars toward a divorce settlement, the mortgage on a custom-built home, rare first-edition books and artwork, and financing a car business. Tennies then allegedly paid investors in Ponzi-like fashion to keep his scheme afloat, using funds from new investors to pay returns to other investors.
Tennies and Price Geld agreed to settle the SEC's claims against them, including violations of the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws under Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and Sections 206(1), 206(2) and 206(4) of the Investment Advisers Act and Rule 206(4)-8 thereunder. Tennies and Price Geld agreed to settle these claims and consented to the entry of a judgment, subject to approval by the court, that enjoins them from violating the antifraud and registration provisions of the federal securities laws. Tennies also agreed to pay more than $1.7 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Idaho filed an information charging Tennies with four counts of mail fraud in connection with this same scheme. On July 29, before visiting U.S. District Court Judge Larry Burns (California) in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Tennies entered a guilty plea to four counts of mail fraud and agreed to forfeiture of approximately $1.5 million. The sentencing is set for October 19, 2009, at 10:00 a.m., before Chief U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. [SEC v. Steven E. Tennies and Price Geld & Company, Inc., Case No. 3:09-cv-370, D. Idaho] (LR-21161)
SEC Charges Nature's Sunshine Products, Inc. With Making Illegal Foreign Payments
The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a settled enforcement against Nature's Sunshine Products Inc. (NSP), its Chief Executive Officer Douglas Faggioli and its former Chief Financial Officer Craig D. Huff. According to the SEC, the charges relate to cash payments made in 2000 and 2001 by the Brazilian subsidiary of NSP, a manufacturer of nutritional and personal care products, to import unregistered products into Brazil and the subsequent falsification of its books and records to conceal the payments.
The complaint alleges that, faced with changes to Brazilian regulations which resulted in classifying many of NSP's products as medicines, NSP's Brazilian subsidiary made a series of cash payments to customs officials to import product into that country and then purchased false documentation to conceal the nature of the payments. It is alleged that this conduct violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and the antifraud, issuer reporting, books and records and internal controls provisions of the federal securities laws. The complaint also alleges that Faggioli and Huff, in their capacities as control persons, violated the books and records and internal controls provisions of the securities laws in connection with the Brazilian cash payments. It is also alleged that NSP failed to disclose the payments to Brazilian customs agents in its filings with the Commission.
The civil injunctive action, which was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Utah, alleges that NSP violated Sections 10(b), 13(a), 13(b)(2)(A), 13(b)(2)(B) and 30A of the Exchange Act, and Rules 10b-5, 12b-20, 13a-1 and 13a-13 thereunder, and that Faggioli and Huff violated Sections 13(b)(2)(A) and 13(b)(2)(B) as control persons pursuant to Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act.
NSP, Faggioli and Huff, without admitting or denying the allegations of the complaint, have consented to the entry of final judgments that would enjoin each of the defendants from future violations of the above-stated provisions and would order NSP to pay a civil penalty of $600,000, and Faggioli and Huff to each pay a civil penalty of $25,000. [SEC v. Nature's Sunshine Products, Inc., Douglas Faggioli and Craig D. Huff, Case No. 09CV672 (D. Utah)] (LR-21162)
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