With more and more mailer pumps getting suspended by the SEC and with AwesomePennyStocks’ mastermind John Babikian on the run, there are fewer big pump and dumps for me to blog about. The most effective remaining stock promoter is one that I have not yet blogged about: StickTips.com. Their last two pumps, AMMG and PGLO, both lasted for weeks and saw lots of volume and price increases upwards of 100% from when the pumps began. But the problem now is that being the best promoter is like painting a bullseye on your chest: that means the SEC Microcap Task Force will be out to get you sooner rather than later. I will address other reasons why I believe the SEC will actively investigate StockTips.com and their promotions after I describe their prior and current promotions.
Past StockTips.com pump and dumps
I only signed up to StockTips.com late in 2012 year so I did not receive any promotional emails from them prior to December 2012. The first promotion I received from them was for Gold and Gemstone Mining (GGSM) and I only received one email about it at 10:59 AM Eastern on December 5th, 2012. The prior day Premiere Consulting (pennystockparlay.com and related websites, formerly affiliated with bestdamnpennystocks.com) had begun the promotion of GGSM and two days later they were done.
StockTips.com disclosure on GGSM:
StockTips.com is operated by Amerada Corp (AC). Currently AC expects to be compensated $25,000.00 (Twenty-Five Thousand United States Dollars) from Laluna, Inc. for this GGSM advertising and promotion.
The second pump that I received from StockTips.com was about PacWest Equities (PWEI), which was promoted by Victory Mark Corp back in autumn 2012 and again by Victory Mark Corp and AwesomePennystocks.com in September 2013. Trading in the stock was quickly suspended due to the SEC crackdown on Awesomepennystocks.com and multiple blatantly false press releases.
While PWEI had been promoted back in the autumn of 2012 by Victory Mark Corp and by some lesser promoters, it received a new wave of promotion in February 2013. The new wave of promotion started February 10th with ImpressivePennyStocks.com / Todaypennystocks.com (paid $100,000 by Perfect Genius Investments, previously paid $100,000 by Green Meadow Enterprises back in 2012). Starting on February 11th, PWEI was promoted by StockExploder.com (paid $25,000 by Flip Ventures LLC). MicroCap Consultants LLC paid a few F-list promoters a few thousand dollars each to promote the stock at that time as well. Capital Financial Media also promoted PWEI and was paid $250,000 by Sancove Holdings Ltd.
I first received pump emails on PWEI at 8:00 PM Eastern on March 24th from StockTips.com. Their last email promoting it came at 11:44 AM on March 27th. Someone who bought PWEI on the first day and sold a week later could have easily lost 50%.
Compensation disclosed: $25,000
Paying party: Laluna Inc
Disclaimer for the PWEI pump below (click to enlarge):
The next StockTips.com pump and dump was AMMG, starting in July. But back in late May AMMG was promoted by a couple ineffective pumpers. I received pump emails after the close on May 21st from OTCPicks.com / PennyTrader news.net (paid $12,000 by Impexco Group). The last email sent by that promoter came on May 29th at 9:56 AM Eastern and then I received no emails promoting AMMG until StockTips.com promoted it.
The AMMG (Amarium Minerals) pump started after the market close on August 18th. It is quite obvious that volume was low (because StockTips.com’s previous pumps had never done well and had lasted only weeks) but then the stock broke out and hit a high of about $0.59 which is up over 100% from the median price on the first pump day of about $0.25. The last pump emails came on September 27th at 2:56 PM eastern.
Compensation disclosed: $25,000
Paying party: Laluna Inc
Here is the disclaimer from those emails (click to enlarge):
The PGLO (Pan Global) pump began after the market close on October 20th. Emails then came every trading day until November 6th, when an email was sent at 8:19 AM Eastern. After that email, no further emails were sent until November 14th at 1:53 PM Eastern. The final pump email was sent at 8:23 AM Eastern on November 19th. From a median price of about $0.35 on the first day to the high of the pump of about $0.96 on November 5th, the stock went up 170%.
Compensation disclosed: $1,100,000
Paying party: Laluna Inc
Below is the disclaimer sent with the emails (click to enlarge):
Tiger Oil and Gas (TGRO): The Current Stocktips.com pump & dump
The current stock promotion of StockTips.com is Tiger Oil and Energy, Inc (TGRO). Before describing the current promotion of TGRO I should mention its prior promotion back in January. It was promoted by Blue Lys Capital (WallstreetReport.net among other websites, paid $55,000) after the close on January 16th. Prior to the open the next day it was promoted by Andalusian Holding (FreeOTCPicks.com along with other websites, paid $55,000) and StockMister LLC (paid $15,000 by Cream Consulting). I received no further pump emails on TGRO after 2:20 PM Eastern on January 17th.
The current StockTips.com promotion of TGRO began on December 8th (a Sunday) and emails have come each trading day (or Sunday night). From a price of about $0.42 at 9:45am on the first trading day after the pump began TGRO hit a high of about $0.63 the next day for a potential gain of 50%.
Compensation disclosed: $2,500,000
Paying party: Laluna Services Inc
Below is the disclaimer from the emails promoting TGRO (click to enlarge):
The emails from StockTIps.com link to a video at http://www.stocktips.com/TGRO/ which then takes the viewer to http://www.stocktips.com/special-thank-tgro/ which links to the Invests.com page promoting TGRO.http://invests.com/opportunity-in-tigeroilandenergy-tgro
The disclaimer on that page says:
Invests.com expects to receive $1,250,000.00 for publication of this advertorial by StockTips.com.
PDF copy of Invests.com promotion page.
Why the SEC should have its sights set on StockTips.com
I have noticed several things about StockTips.com that make me believe that they are violating the law. These are all relatively small things that by themselves warrant no more than a slap on the wrist but they could indicate far bigger problems. If I worked for the SEC these would definitely make me think of investigating StockTips.com. First, the website discloses in all its emails that it is owned by Amerada Corp. In every email it lists its address as “4000 Aurora Avenue N. Ste. 119 Seattle, Washington 98103 US”. A quick search of corporations in Washington found only Amerada Petroleum Corp (a subsidiary of Hess Corporation, registered in Delaware). A search of Nevada and Delaware corporate registries found no companies with that name that currently exist (in Delaware an Amerada Corp. has been defunct since 1998). It is quite possible that the Amerada Corp that owns Stocktips.com exists in some other state and all this shows is a lack of proper disclosure or registration (using an address in Washington should mean that they have to file as a foreign corporation, in which case they would show up in the search I conducted).
The same question of the existence of Amerada Corp. can be asked of Laluna Inc — searches of the corporation registries of Washington, Nevada, and Delaware showed no potential matches. Furthermore, the name changed from Laluna Inc to Laluna Services Inc for the TGRO pump (all previous pumps listed “Laluna Inc” as the paying party. This makes it seem less likely that the company exists (although it is possible they made a typo but adding a “Services” to a company name is not a common typo). I should point out that while there are some foreign jurisdictions that do use “Inc.” or “Incorporated” that is much less prevalent than “Ltd.” or “Limited”.
Another suspicious fact about StockTips.com is that for every single stock promotion I have seen by them they have been paid by the same company, Laluna Inc (except for TGRO which was paid by Laluna Services Inc). Most promoters, when they do disclose who paid them, list a revolving door of common third-party promoter payers (such as Flip Ventures LLC), other promoters (such as MicroCap Consultants LLC) and entities that appear to be one-off entities created for one stock promotion.
I do have to admit that what I have described above is no more than what has seemed like ordinary stock promoter behavior over the last few years. But times have changed and the SEC’s Microcap Task Force has been kicking ass and taking names. Any prominent stock promoter that does anything even mildly suspicious is going to quickly find itself being investigated by the SEC. And any stock being promoted by such a promoter is at risk of a trading suspension.
[Edit 2013-12-16 3:20 PM]: In addition to what I described above, many of the large shareholders in TGRO have ties to recent pump and dumps such as NHUR and NVGC. See Ivan’s SeekingAlpha article and the Promotion Stock Secrets article on NGRC for details. In fact, TGRO CEO Kenneth B. Liebscher was criminally prosecuted in the past for stock fraud, although he was acquitted on all counts. The history of the CEO and the ties of large shareholders to other major pump and dump companies (including NHUR and NGRC) make it more likely that trading in TGRO be suspended by the SEC. See also the Promotion Stock Secrets blog post about TGRO.