SEC Announces Emergency Action to Halt Ongoing Fraud Against Senior Citizens
SEC Seeks Temporary Restraining Orders, Asset Freezes and Accountings
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C., Aug. 21, 2006 - The Securities and Exchange Commission today filed an emergency enforcement action to halt an ongoing fraudulent offering of stock in a company called One Wall Street, Inc. in which the defendants have obtained over $1.6 million from at least 64 investors, most of them senior citizens.
The SEC's complaint, filed in the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn, charges defendants One Wall Street, Inc., Donte C. Jarvis, Alan Brown, Willis "Bill" White III, and Cecil Baptiste a/k/a John Latorri with making fraudulent solicitations and misappropriating investor funds. The Commission also charged Jarvis' wife, La Shondra Hatter, as a defendant solely to recover investor funds in her possession. In its emergency enforcement action, the Commission seeks temporary restraining orders against further violations of the federal securities laws, asset freezes, and accountings.
Mark K. Schonfeld, Director of the Commission's Northeast Regional Office, stated, "This case emphasizes our continuing commitment to protecting elderly investors. Here, we are seeking emergency relief to halt the fraud and preserve investors' funds."
The complaint alleges that from March 2003 until the present, the defendants raised at least $1.6 million from at least 64 investors mostly senior citizens who purchased unregistered One Wall Street stock. The complaint further alleges that to induce these sales, defendants made numerous oral and written false and misleading statements, including that One Wall Street would soon conduct an initial public offering, that E*TRADE Financial Corporation was negotiating to merge with One Wall Street, and that One Wall Street would use the investment proceeds for solely business purposes. In fact, according to the complaint, defendants have not pursued an IPO of One Wall Street, E*Trade has never engaged in any business discussions with One Wall Street whatsoever, nor did One Wall Street use investor proceeds in the manner the defendants represented.
Rather than apply the proceeds collected from the investors towards legitimate business expenses, the complaint alleges that Jarvis used, and continues to use, investor funds to pay his personal expenses, including jewelry purchases, gambling and "adult entertainment" services, and payments for child day care, car loans and mortgages. He has also given investor funds to his wife and fellow defendants.
In its emergency enforcement action, the Commission seeks temporary restraining orders freezing the defendants' and relief defendant's assets and prohibiting the defendants from committing further violations of the federal securities laws. The Commission's complaint also seeks a final judgment assessing civil penalties against the defendants and ordering the defendants and relief defendant to disgorge their ill-gotten gains.
Last month, the SEC held its first-ever Seniors Summit, where the SEC joined with state regulators and others to examine how to best protect older Americans from investment fraud. A webcast of the July 17, 2006, event is available at http://www.sec.gov/news/otherwebcasts.shtml. Materials related to the Senior Summit are located at: http://www.sec.gov/spotlight/seniors/seniors_summit.htm.
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- Helene Glotzer, Associate Regional Director, 212-336-0078
- Gerald Gross, Assistant Regional Director, 212-336-0085
- Scott L. Black, Senior Trial Counsel, 212-336-0029
Additional materials: Litigation Release 19809 and Complaint