SEC Suspends Trading of 26 Companies to Combat Corporate Hijackings
Actions Are First From Enforcement Division's Recently-Formed Microcap Fraud Working Group
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C., March 13, 2008 - The Securities and Exchange Commission today suspended trading in the securities of 26 companies that appear to have usurped the identity of defunct or inactive publicly-traded corporations using a tactic known as corporate hijacking. The Commission ordered the suspensions because of questions regarding the adequacy and accuracy of information pertaining to their status as publicly-traded companies.
The trading suspensions are part of the SEC's stepped-up effort to address fraud involving the securities of non-exchange traded, or microcap, securities. These are the first actions resulting from the recent formation of the Enforcement Division's microcap fraud working group. In March 2007, the Commission suspended trading in the securities of 35 companies as part of the SEC's Anti-Spam Initiative, which targets potentially fraudulent spam e-mail.
"Microcap investing involves thousands of companies and hundreds of thousands of investors. Keeping this tier of the market honest and free of fraud is every bit as important to investor confidence as our regulation of the world's largest companies and exchanges," said SEC Chairman Christopher Cox. "These trading suspensions demonstrate the SEC's intensified commitment to eradicating microcap fraud. The trading suspensions, and the actions that will follow, should leave no doubt that the Commission will use all of the weapons in its arsenal to combat those who threaten the integrity of our markets."
Linda Chatman Thomsen, Director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement, added, "Hijackings are a burgeoning problem, and a type which the Division's microcap fraud working group was created to address. Today's trading suspensions are squarely aimed at putting the market on notice about the risks associated with acquiring non-operational or 'shell' companies, and with investing in microcaps. This is a first step. We will continue to vigorously investigate those involved."
In conducting the corporate hijacking, certain persons appear to have incorporated each of the 26 companies using the same name as a then defunct or inactive publicly-traded corporation. For identification purposes, each class of an issuer's publicly-traded securities is assigned a ticker symbol by Nasdaq Reorganization and a CUSIP number by the Standard & Poor's CUSIP Bureau. These same persons appear to have usurped the CUSIP numbers and ticker symbols assigned to the defunct or inactive corporations' publicly-traded securities for use by the newly-incorporated entities. They then appear to have obtained new CUSIP numbers and ticker symbols in lieu of the old ones, also for use of the newly incorporated entities, by apparently representing falsely that they were duly authorized officers, directors, or agents of the original publicly-traded corporation.
The trading suspensions will last for 10 business days. The trading suspensions commenced today at 9:30 a.m. ET and terminate at 11:59 p.m. ET on March 27, 2008.
The 26 companies whose trading was suspended today are: Andros Isle Development Corp. (AVPJ); Asante Networks, Inc. (ASTN); Beluga Composites Corporation (BGCC); Cobra Energy Inc. (CBNG); Complete Care Medical, Inc. (CCMI); Disability Access Corporation (DBYC); El Alacran Gold Mine Corp. (EAGM); Extreme Fitness Inc. (EXTF); Gaming Transactions Inc. (GGTS); Global Equity Fund, Inc. (GEQF); HealthSonix Inc. (HSXI); IQ Webquest, Inc. (IQWB); JSX Energy Inc. (JSXG); Kensington Industries, Inc. (KSGT); Kingslake Energy Inc. (KGLJ); L International Computers Inc. (LITL); Let's Talk Recovery Inc. (LKRV); Mobilestream, Inc. (MSRM); Mvive, Inc. (MVIV); Native American Energy Group Inc. (NVMG); Paramount Gold and Silver Corp. (PZG); Regal Technologies Inc. (RGTN); Remington Ventures, Inc. (REMV); Straight Up Brands, Inc. (STRU); Transglobal Oil Corp. (TRGO); and Turquoise Development Company (TQDC).
The Commission cautions broker-dealers, shareholders and prospective purchasers that they should carefully consider the foregoing information along with all other currently available information and any information subsequently issued by these companies. Further, broker-dealers should be alert to the fact that, pursuant to Rule 15c2-11 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, at the termination of the trading suspensions, no quotation may be entered unless and until the broker-dealer has strictly complied with all of the provisions of the rule. If any broker or dealer is uncertain as to what is required by the rule, it should refrain from entering quotations relating to the securities of this company that has been subject to a trading suspension until such time as it has familiarized itself with the rule and is certain that all of its provisions have been met. Any broker or dealer with questions regarding the rule should contact the staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C. at (202) 551-5720. If any broker or dealer enters any quotation that is in violation of the rule, the Commission will consider the need for prompt enforcement action.
The Commission acknowledges the assistance and cooperation of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Ontario Securities Commission, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey in Newark, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida in Tampa, the Newark and Tampa Field Offices of the U.S. Secret Service, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
Any investor or other person with information relating to this matter is invited to contact the staff at (202) 551-4600 or by e-mail at ENFfirstname.lastname@example.org.
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For more information, contact:
Scott W. Friestad
Associate Director, SEC's Division of Enforcement
John S. Polise
Assistant Director, SEC's Division of Enforcement