Earlier today the SEC announced that it froze accounts of eight different Argentinians who had illegally sold unregistered shares of Biozoom (BIZM). Two others who had not yet sold shares also had their accounts frozen. A week ago the SEC suspended trading in Biozoom. See my original post on the Biozoom promotion as well as the Promotion Stock Secrets post on the individuals behind the promotion.
The sheer number of shares sold and the profits involved are impressive. Here is a good description of what transpired from the SEC press release:
The SEC’s complaint alleges that from March to June 2013, the ten defendants received more than 20 million shares of Entertainment Art, which was one-third of the company’s total outstanding shares. In a one-month period beginning in mid-May, eight of them sold more than 14 million shares. The sales yielded almost $34 million, of which almost $17 million was wired to overseas bank accounts. Their U.S. brokerage accounts, which include approximately $16 million in cash, are subject to the asset freeze.
The ten defendants in the litigation are: Magdalena Tavella, Andres Horacio Ficicchia, Gonzalo Garcia Blaya, Lucia Mariana Hernando, Cecilia De Lorenzo, Adriana Rosa Bagattin, Daniela Patricia Goldman and Mariano Pablo Ferrari (Mariano Graciarena and Fernando Loureyro are also named but had not yet sold shares). The defendants claimed to have purchased shares in Biozoom (then known as Entertainment Art Inc.) from the company’s original seed shareholders between November 2012 and March 2013, but those shareholders had already sold all their shares back in 2009.
Despite the SEC’s quick action, over $17m in illicit profits were already wired overseas and are now beyond the reach of American authorities. Most likely none of the individuals whose names appeared on the accounts were behind the fraud. It is believed by many that Francisco Abellan has controlled scheme from the start.
The US brokerages used by the defendants are well-known to everyone who is familiar with the penny stock world: Legend Securities and Scottsdale Capital Advisors.