SEC Charges 44 Defendants in Four Stock Manipulations That Caused Over $30 Million in Investor Losses
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C., October 11, 2001 The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that it filed four complaints in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York alleging that in 1999 and 2000, Edward A. Durante and other defendants manipulated the trading and generated artificial price rises in the stocks of four companies: U.N. Dollars Corp., WAMEX Holdings, Inc., Ramoil Management, Ltd., and Absolutefuture.com. Defendants reaped more than $30 million in illegal profits by secretly controlling the trading in these stocks through a network of promoters, brokers and market makers, and then by dumping the stocks at artificially inflated prices to unsuspecting investors.
The filing of these complaints today comes as part of coordinated investigations by the staff in the Commission's Washington headquarters, New York and Boston offices, and the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, which previously filed criminal charges concerning these schemes.
The complaints allege that Edward Durante, using the name "Ed Simmons," established an offshore finance company, Carib Securities Ltd., in 1999 to hide his personal involvement in the manipulation schemes. Additionally, Durante and others controlled several other entities, which they used to receive stock, engage in patterns of manipulative trading, and eventually to dump stock at artificially inflated prices.
In particular, the complaints allege the following:
As a result of the conduct alleged in the complaints, Durante and his offshore entities, Carib Securities Ltd., Berkshire Capital Partners, Inc., Galton Scott & Golett Inc., Dottenhoff Financial Ltd., Zimenn Importing And Exporting Inc., Prudential Overseas Company, Ltd., Renaissance Gallery Inc., Fairmont Consulting, Ltd., Provident Partners Ltd., and Commonwealth Associates, Ltd. (all corporations controlled by Durante) are alleged to have violated the antifraud and registration provisions of the securities laws, and the Commission seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement of proceeds, prejudgment interest thereon, civil money penalties, and officer and director bars against Durante and others involved in the schemes. The complaints also allege that Durante stashed profits from his illegal stock trading with relief defendants Exchange Bank & Trust, Inc., a Nevis-based offshore private bank, and VJV Inc., a Nevada-based corporation owned by Durante.
The Commission acknowledges the assistance of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the British Columbia Securities Commission in these matters.
For more detailed information, see Litigation Releases 17177 (SEC v. U.N. Dollars Corp., et al), 17178 (SEC v. WAMEX Holdings Inc., et al.), 17179 (SEC v. Ramoil Management Ltd., et al.), and 17180 (SEC v. AbsoluteFuture.com, et al.).