These charges are the latest in a series of cases in which the SEC has worked closely with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to uncover penny stock schemes. Prior charges were filed by the SEC against other penny stock violators in October 2010, December 2010, and June 2011.
According to the SEC's complaints filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, some of these latest schemes involved the payment of undisclosed kickbacks to a pension fund manager in exchange for the fund's purchase of restricted shares of stock in the various microcap companies. Other schemes involved an undisclosed bribe that was to be paid to a stockbroker who agreed to purchase a microcap company's stock in the open market for his customers' discretionary accounts.
"The company officers and promoters in many of these schemes disguised their kickbacks as payments to phony consulting companies that performed no actual work," said Eric I. Bustillo, Director of the SEC's Miami Regional Office. "These illegal activities were fully intended to artificially inflate the stock volume and prices of these penny stock companies to the detriment of investors."