SEC Charges Florida Promoters and the Voice Behind Fraudulent “Wrong Number” Stock Tips
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Florida Woman, Her then Husband, and Another Florida Stock Promoter Charged with Nationwide Broadcasting of Hundreds of Thousands of Misleading Stock Tip Voicemail Messages
Washington, D.C., July 27, 2006 The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced the filing of civil charges against Anna and Roderic Boling of Altamonte Springs, Florida and Jeffrey Mills of Longwood, Florida and his company, Direct Results of Sweetwater, LLC, for the broadcasting of hundreds of thousands of fraudulent "wrong number" stock tip messages. The messages, which were left on telephone voicemail recording machines throughout the country, were designed to make each recipient believe the caller had dialed the number by mistake. Many of the messages were left by a woman calling herself "Debbie" who sounded as if she had misdialed when calling a friend to pass along a hot stock tip.
The SEC filed its complaint in the District of Columbia, charging that Mills, Mills’ company, Direct Results of Sweetwater, LLC, and the then husband-and-wife team of Roderic and Anna Boling were behind the broadcasting of hundreds of thousands of “wrong number” touts of at least six microcap stocks. The complaint alleges that Anna Boling recorded many of the messages over the phone from her Altamonte Springs home while her then husband, Roderic Boling, directed an Augusta, Georgia-based telemarketer to broadcast the messages. The complaint further alleges that Jeffrey Mills, who profited from trading in at least two of the touted stocks, paid Roderic Boling with a blue duffel bag of cash during a trip to a Gulfport, Mississippi casino. During that same trip, Roderic Boling paid the telemarketer with cash taken from that duffel bag.
“Today’s charges demonstrate that the Commission is fully committed to tackling fraud in the microcap market,” noted Peter H. Bresnan, Deputy Director of the Division of Enforcement. “The charges are the result of a combination of high-tech investigative ingenuity and good, old-fashioned low-tech hard work. Through careful, side-by-side analysis of phone and stock trading records, we were able to discern a trail of electronic footprints that ultimately led us to the defendants’ doorstep.”
“We should not let the novelty of these vicemail touts overshadow the fact that what we have here, at the end of the day, is a fraudulent scheme motivated by greed,” commented John Reed Stark, Chief of the SEC’s Office of Internet Enforcement. “Investors should do their homework before making any investment decision and whether received via spam, fax, voicemail or otherwise, should never take investment advice from a stranger, especially under the auspices of a supposedly secret tip.”
In its action, the Commission seeks permanent injunctive relief, disgorgement of illegal profits with prejudgment interest, and civil monetary penalties based on each of the defendants' alleged violations of the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws, specifically Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and Anna Boling’s alleged aiding and abetting of those violations.
The SEC’s action was brought contemporaneously with a related action by the U. S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia in which Roderic Boling, Anna Boling, and Jeffrey Mills are charged with conspiracy, securities fraud, and seven counts of wire fraud.
The Commission first cautioned the public about these and similar messages touting small, thinly traded stocks, commonly known as "microcap" stocks, in an August 2004 Investor Alert, after which the Augusta telemarketer stopped broadcasting the messages. On May 3, 2005, the Commission filed a settled action against the telemarketer and associated companies.
The Commission would like to acknowledge the assistance of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, NASD, and the many members of the public who responded to the Commission's Investor Alert by sending in information about the "wrong number" messages they had received.
The Commission's investigation is continuing.
The SEC's investor alert is at http://www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/wrongnumberscam.htm.
Listen to one of the "wrong number" voicemails here.
Read a transcript of one of the "wrong number" calls.
See also Press Release 2005-70 (May 3, 2005).
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For more information, contact
Peter H. Bresnan
Division of Enforcement
John Reed Stark
Chief, SEC Office of Internet Enforcement &
Counselor to the Director
Additional materials: Litigation Release No. 19779 and Complaint