Lawyer Luke Zouvas indicted — he has worked for multiple companies involved in pump and dumps

On Friday, July 13th the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California announced a number of unrelated criminal indictments for stock-fraud related offences. I will write another blog post about the other indictments, but the first one I wanted to write about the indictment of attorney Luke Zouvas. The case against Zouvas is US v. Zouvas (3:18-cr-03070) in US District Court, Southern District of California. The indictment (pdf) is only four pages long. Zouvas was released on a $50,000 bond (pdf). The charges are 8 counts of money laundering (18 U.S.C. § 1956 (a) (3) (B)), each one relating to a separate wire transfer to or from Zouvas’ client escrow or trust accounts at Wells Fargo to or from three different accounts at City National Bank accounts between November 13, 2017 and March 5, 2018. Of the 8 wire transfers listed in the indictment, 5 (totaling $350,000) were to the Wells Fargo accounts and 3 (totaling $236,700) were to the City National Bank Accounts. Two of the City National accounts (ending in 8609 and 6797) only sent money to Zouvas’ Wells Fargo accounts, while one (ending in 7084) only received money from Zouvas’ Wells Fargo accounts. Below is a quote from the indictment:

3  2. On or about the dates indicated below, within the Southern
4  District of California and elsewhere, the defendant LUKE CHRISTOPHER  ZOUVAS,
5  with the intent to conceal and disguise the nature, location,
6  source, ownership and control, of property believed to be the proceeds
7  of specified unlawful activity, did knowingly conduct the following
8  financial transactions affecting interstate commerce involving property
9  represented by a person at the direction of, and with the approval of,
10  a law enforcement officer, to be proceeds of specified unlawful activity,
11  to wit: fraud in the sale of securities:

The wire transfers at issue:

Zouvas has worked for a number of companies that have undergone pump and dumps and at least at one point he represented the people behind spam promoter “Stock Castle” and he received a subpoena in the case that George Sharp filed against the companies and promoter(s) involved in those promotions.

In 2016 Luke Zouvas was sued by the SEC for his role in a pump and dump. Read the complaint (pdf). Below are excerpts from the complaint:

2. As part of the scheme, Larson obtained controlling shares of Crown from Asher Z. Zwebner (“Zwebner”), an Israeli accountant who created and secretly controlled the company and its stock. Although Larson controlled Crown and acted as its de facto chief financial officer, his name did not appear in any of Crown’s filings with the Commission. With the assistance of Zouvas, an attorney
based in San Diego who served as Crown’s general counsel, Larson transferred free-trading Crown shares from Zwebner’s nominees – purported shareholders in Crown’s initial public offering – to Larson’s nominees, including Jorgenson and Schiprett. Larson then paid $400,000 for a “call center” to promote Crown and
placed manipulative trades in his own brokerage account to create the appearance of market interest in the stock. Robb prepared materially misleading press releases about the company’s business success. As Crown’s stock price became inflated as a result of Larson’s and Robb’s efforts to pump the stock, Larson’s nominees
Jorgenson and Schiprett sold Crown shares and wired most of the sale proceeds – at least $865,000 – to accounts controlled by Larson. Jorgenson and Schiprett retained some of the proceeds as compensation for their assistance in the scheme as nominees.

4. Zouvas, age 45, resides in San Diego, California. He is an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of California. During the relevant time period, he acted as escrow agent for Larson’s purchase of the Crown shell from Zwebner, and as general counsel for Crown. Zouvas declined to testify in the Commission’s
investigation based on his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.

17. Ultimately, Larson purchased the Crown shell from Zwebner. On or about December 6, 2011, Larson wired $300,000 from a bank account titled to an entity he controlled – S&L Investments, LLC – to Zouvas’ trust account, which reflected that payment was for Crown. Two days later, Zouvas wired $25,000 to Zwebner. On or about December 14, 2011, Zouvas wired an additional $206,127 to Zwebner through a financial cash change house in Jerusalem. The next day, Larson wired an additional $25,000 from the same bank account he controlled to another of Zouvas’ trust accounts. Larson thus gained control of Crown’s 2.5 million freelytradable
shares that Zwebner had fraudulently placed in the names of the 40 Israeli subscribers and the shares held by the two nominee officers of the company.

21. On or about January 3, 2012, Zouvas directed Crown’s transfer agent to transfer the shares from the seven Israeli subscribers to Jorgenson and Schiprett. However, Zouvas instructed the transfer agent to send the certificates to Larson, rather than to Jorgenson and Schiprett, the supposed shareholders of record. The transfer agent did as Zouvas directed. As a result of a 3-for-1 forward stock split, Jorgenson and Schiprett became the record owners of 656,250 free-trading Crown shares each.

23. To enable Jorgenson and Schiprett to make the deposit, Zouvas prepared a false attestation for them to provide to the brokerage firm. The attestation was dated January 17, 2012. In it, Zouvas wrote that his law firm had acted as escrow agent for the transaction in which Jorgenson and Schiprett had purchased Crown shares for $25,850. He misrepresented that on December 14, 2011, he sent the funds to the selling shareholders. The attestation was false because Zouvas’s escrow account never received the funds from Jorgenson and Schiprett, and never remitted the funds to the seven purported subscribers. When
Zouvas provided the attestation, he knew, or was reckless in not knowing, that it was false.

35. On March 14, 2012, Crown filed a Form 10-K “Annual Report” (“10-K”) with the Commission. Zouvas approved a draft of the Form 10-K falsely reporting that Aninye owned the nine million shares of Crown, a statement which was repeated in the final Form 10-K. Zouvas became Crown’s general counsel in December 2011 and took responsibility for directing the transfer agent any time
shares of Crown needed to be cancelled or reissued. Zouvas therefore knew Aninye did not receive any shares from Rehavi and Zehavi because he had not directed the transfer agent to cancel the Rehavi and Zehavi share certificates or reissue them in Aninye’s name.
36. In a communication with FINRA three months later, Zouvas
reaffirmed the false 8-K by stating Aninye had purchased the nine million shares of Crown from Rehavi and Zehavi for $180,000: “On January 17, 2012, the Company executed a Stock Purchase Agreement, under which 9,000,000 (post-split) shares of
common stock of the Company were sold by Rehavi and Zehavi to Steve Aninye in exchange for $180,000.” Zouvas knew, or was reckless in not knowing, that his statement to FINRA was false because (i) he never had the shares placed in Aninye’s name, and (ii) he directed the transfer agent to cancel the shares and retire
them to Crown’s treasury.

H. Zouvas Receives Crown Shares and Provides False Certification to Transfer Agent
60. In or around June 2012, Zouvas received 87,500 shares of Crown stock for which he paid no consideration. According to a stock purchase agreement dated June 25, 2012, Zouvas purchased 87,500 shares of Crown stock from one of the original purported Israeli subscribers for $2,000. According to a second stock
purchase agreement dated June 19, 2012, a third-party entity purchased 100,000 shares of Crown stock from the same purported subscriber for $2,000. The purported subscriber was – like the other subscribers – Zwebner’s nominee. She did not purchase the shares or sell them to Zouvas or to the third party, nor was she even aware the stock certificate had been issued in her name. She never communicated with Zouvas and her signature was forged on the Stock Purchase Agreement.
61. On or about June 25, 2012, Zouvas directed the transfer agent to transfer the subscriber’s shares to himself and the third party. In his instruction letter to the transfer agent, Zouvas wrote, in part: “We certify that these shares have been validly purchased by the following parties,” including the third party and Zouvas himself. The certification was inaccurate because Zouvas did not purchase the Crown shares referred to in the letter, and the purported subscriber did not sell the shares either to Zouvas or the third party. When Zouvas made the certification, he knew, or was reckless in not knowing, that it was inaccurate.
62. Approximately one year later, in July 2013, Zouvas deposited the 87,500 Crown shares into his brokerage account. Between September 27 and October 7, 2013, Zouvas sold all of the 87,500 Crown shares he purportedly acquired for proceeds of approximately $10,300. Zouvas also received legal fees and other payments related to Crown in addition to his stock sale proceeds.

That case, SEC v. Zouvas et al, started in the US District Court, Southern District of California (3:16-cv-00998) but in 2017 was transferred to the US District Court for the District of Arizona (2:17-cv-00427). Read Zouvas’ answer to the complaint (pdf). Zouvas (at least as of the December 5, 2016 answer, is defending himself (‘in pro per’). The case is ongoing.

In 2013 Luke C. Zouvas and his wife filed for bankruptcy and that case was not terminated until December 28, 2017. That case is 13-06250 in the US Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of California. The bankruptcy case docket and a couple of the documents are available at the CourtListener website. The only interesting thing in the bankruptcy is the listing of unsecured non-priority claims which lists three claims resulting from San Diego Superior Court lawsuits. Those creditors/cases are as follows:

  • Social Media Ventures, lnc. — NOTICE ONLY – 01/2012, prof. liability claim, San Diego Superior Court Case #37-2012-00097720, settled as of 06/14/13
  • Joseph B. Larocco — NOTICE ONLY – 01/2012, prof. liability claim, San Diego Superior Court Case #37-2012-00097720, settled as of 06/14/13
  • lronshore Indeminty, Inc. — 05/20/13, declaratory relief and reimbursement claim, San Diego Superior Court Case #37-2013-000502

At the time of the bankruptcy Zouvas listed net monthly take home pay as $19,085, which seems to me modest for an attorney in independent practice in San Diego County.

For years Zouvas worked with and for some time he was name partner with Luis Carrillo and Wade Huettel. In 2011 Vancouver journalist David Baines said that the firm has “facilitated many dubious bulletin board companies that have turned into horrendous promotions.”

In March 2013 the SEC sued Wade Huettel and Luis Carrillo and their firm (as well as others) for their involvement with multiple pump and dump scams and in May 2017 won a large default judgment against them. (Luke Zouvas was not named in that suit.) From the judgment:

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that Defendants are jointly and severally liable for disgorgement of $6, 703,484.15, representing the ill-gotten gains resulting from the conduct alleged in the Amended Complaint (reduced by the amounts procured by the Plaintiff from other defendants through settlement agreements), together with prejudgment interest thereon in the amount of $1,579,643.12 for a total of$8,283,127.27. In addition, each Defendant shall pay a civil penalty in the amount of $375,000 pursuant to Section
20(d) of the Securities Act [15 U.S.C. § 77t(d)] and Section 21(d)(3) of the Exchange Act [15 U.S.C. § 78u(d)(3).

 

Zouvas has also been named in other litigation, such as this in pro per lawsuit:

The docket for that case can be found on CourtListener.com. It is  Willett v. Procopio (3:17-cv-02144-LAB-JMA) US District Court, S.D. California.

For more on Luke Zouvas including on his bankruptcy and other litigation, see George Sharp’s account of the Zouvas indictment.

Disclaimer: I have no position in any stock mentioned above. I have no relationship with any parties mentioned above. This blog has a terms of use that is incorporated by reference into this post; you can find all my disclaimers and disclosures there as well.

Brian Sodi aka ‘Mailman’, allegedly responsible for dozens of pump and dump flyers, faces criminal and civil charges

On March 9, 2108 Brian Robert Sodi aka ‘Mailman’ was arrested and criminal and civil charges were announced against him. See the SEC press release and the Department of Justice press release. I have been behind in my blogging and did not realize just how important Brian Sodi allegedly was to the pump and dump industry until I finally got around to reading the criminal indictment and the SEC complaint.

How did Sodi acquire the nickname “mailman”? According to the SEC complaint he ran a large number of stock promotions (both online and physical mail) for 17 years.

91. From 1998 through at least 2015, Sodi’s Penny Stock Promotion Platform was a significant disseminator of penny stock promotional materials, handling, at its peak, as many as two dozen or more such campaigns annually

First, the allegations from the above-mentioned press releases. I start with excerpts from the DoJ press release:

A ten-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges BRIAN ROBERT “Mailman” SODI, 46, of Boca Raton, with conspiracy to commit securities fraud and mail fraud, and related charges.

According to the indictment, Sodi used his Florida-based publishing houses to distribute deceptive promotional mailers recommending the purchase of select penny stocks, while hiding from potential investors that he secretly was selling the stocks he was urging them to buy. The indictment also charges that Sodi obscured his involvement in the scheme by using offshore accounts and intermediaries to launder the proceeds of his fraud back to himself and his publishing houses.

According to the indictment, Sodi conducted his scheme as follows:

He would acquire shares of a publicly-traded stock, positioning himself to benefit from selling the shares at inflated prices. Sodi would try to induce the public to purchase the stock by developing and disseminating promotional and marketing mailers that exaggerated the stock’s prospects for growth and urged readers to purchase it. The mailers would falsely and deceptively conceal and fail to disclose that Sodi intended to sell the stock he was urging others to buy. After the stock price rose, Sodi would sell the stock for a profit.

Sodi hid his ownership interest in the promoted stock by trading through Arliss, a Swiss account, instead of through a brokerage account held in his own name. He brought the proceeds of his fraud back to himself and his publishing houses through offshore accounts held by firms in Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, and elsewhere.

Now excerpts from the SEC press release:

The SEC’s complaint alleges that Brian Robert Sodi, known in penny stock circles as “Mailman” for his pervasive participation in direct-mailed penny stock promotions, committed a fraud known as scalping.  He allegedly disseminated promotions recommending the purchase of the stocks in Southern USA Resources Inc. and Goff Corporation without disclosing he owned shares and planned to sell them through a foreign bank.  Sodi also allegedly hid from investors that he was being paid in stock for one of these promotions.  According to the SEC’s complaint, Sodi proceeded to unload hundreds of thousands of his own shares to the detriment of other investors who bought in to the hype.

The SEC’s complaint filed February 26 charges Sodi and two of his publishing houses, Capital Financial Media LLC and List Data Solutions LLC, with violating Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Sections 17(a) and (b) of the Securities Act of 1933.  The complaint also charges Sodi with violating Section 13(d) of the Exchange Act and Rule 13d-1 as well as Sections 5(a) and (c) of the Securities Act.  Among other things, the complaint seeks an accounting of all of Sodi’s and his entities’ sales of all U.S. penny stocks that Sodi’s platform promoted within the last five years.

 

Perhaps most interestingly, the list of domestic and foreign regulatory agencies that assisted in the investigation is long:

The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Northern District of Alabama, District of New Jersey, Eastern District of New York, and Eastern District of Virginia as well as the Criminal Fraud Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Alabama State Securities Commission, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Alberta Securities Commission, British Columbia Securities Commission, Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission, Dubai Financial Services Authority, Guernsey Financial Services Commission, Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, Liechtenstein Financial Market Authority, the Malta Financial Services Authority, the Mauritius Financial Services Commission, Investigation Section of the Financial Services Regulation Division of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario Securities Commission, Québec Autorité des Marchés Financiers, Monetary Authority of Singapore, Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, United Arab Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority, and United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority.

There are three court cases that have been generated by this so far. The first (and least interesting) is United States v. Sodi (9:18-mj-08088) in the US District Court of the Southern District of Florida. All my links to court cases in this post are to the freely-available docket on CourtListener.com. In addition to the docket, some of the court documents are available to download from that website for free.

The criminal indictment was originally filed in the US District Court, Northern District of Alabama before being removed to the Southern District of Florida — where it was promptly transferred back to Alabama. My guess is that the only reason for the brief removal of the case to Florida was because Sodi was arrested there so therefore bond had to be set there. On March 8, 2018, was released on $250,000 bond (pdf).

The second case is  Securities and Exchange Commission v. Sodi (5:18-cv-00313) in the US District Court, Northern District of Alabama. Read the complaint (pdf). As is normal when a defendant is facing parallel civil and criminal charges, Sodi and his companies (Capital Financial Media, LLC and List Data Solutions, LLC) filed a motion to stay the proceedings of the civil case while the criminal case is litigated. From that motion:

Pursuant to Rule 7 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Defendants Brian Robert Sodi (“Sodi”), Capital Financial Media, LLC, and List Data Solutions, LLC (collectively, “Defendants”), respectfully move the Court for an order staying this matter pending resolution of the criminal case against Sodi in this District.

On June 28th lawyers for the SEC and the defendants had a telephone conference to discuss the motion to stay. On June 29th the judge ordered:

Consistent with discussion on the record during the telephone conference on June 28, 2018 in this matter, on or before July 20, 2018, the parties shall please submit a proposed partial stay order that addresses the Fifth Amendment concerns in this case. The Court STAYS the defendants’ obligations to respond to the complaint in this matter until the Court reviews the parties’ joint submission and enters an appropriate order. Signed by Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala on 6/29/2018.

The third and most important case is  United States v. Sodi (5:18-cr-00056) in US District Court, Northern District of Alabama. Read the criminal indictment (pdf). The indictment was filed under seal on February 22, 2018.

I will skip discussion of the indictment to briefly address the other filings in the case so far, most of which are procedural and uninteresting. Unsurprisingly, both sides moved for the case to be ruled complex (which gives both sides more time to prepare for trial) and the judge ordered that motion approved.  From the motion:

A first production of discovery has already been delivered to the defense and further productions are being prepared. The Government estimates that the organized discovery ultimately made available to the defense will amount to at least 100 gigabytes of data, mostly in the form of thousands of documents, with additional materials to be made available for inspection or copying.
A telephone status conference has been scheduled for July 30, 2018 to discuss the timeline for pretrial motions, plea notification, and trial.

One interesting fact garnered from the government’s motion for alternative victim notification procedures (pdf):

The Indictment alleges that Sodi participated in such fraud schemes involving four separate stock tickers during 2012 and 2013.
Because the frauds alleged in the Indictment were directed at influencing the stock price of each of the targeted stocks, and thereby influencing the market for the stocks as a whole, the number of victims harmed by the defendant’s activities reaches far beyond the typical range for ordinary financial fraud cases. The Government currently estimates that 48,848 investors, in the United States and elsewhere, purchased manipulated stock during Sodi’s frauds.

Considering that the same people would tend to trade many different pumps, rather than dividing 48,848 by 4 to get 12,000 traders/investors during each pump and dump, I would estimate 24,000 traders/investors traded each of the stocks Sodi is alleged to have promoted.

The Indictment

We return to review the indictment (pdf). I will excerpt what I think are the most important parts of the indictment. First, the people and entities involved:

c. The defendant, BRIAN ROBERT SODI, known to others involved in penny stock fraud as “Mailman,” personally controlled companies Capital Financial Media, LLC (CFM), List Data Solutions, LLC (LDS), GLJ Holdings, LLC (GLJ), Trinity Investment Research, LLC (TIR), and other companies using the same business address in Delray Beach, Florida. BRIAN ROBERT SODI and his entities were involved in penny stock promotion s, primarily through the distribution of mailers by postal mail, email, and online advertising.

d. Cooperating Witness 1 (CW-1) and Cooperating Witness 2 (CW-2) were co-conspirators with BRIAN ROBERT SODI as described below

e. Arliss International, Inc. (Arliss) was a corporate entity incorporated in the British Virgin Islands in and around October 2009. BRIAN ROBERT SODI used Arliss to scalp stock during the pump-and-dump schemes described in this Indictment. Although Arliss’s manager was nominally an official of EuroHelvetia Trustco S.A. (EHT), a wealth administration firm headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, Arliss was in fact used by and operated for the benefit of BRIAN ROBERT SODI.

f. Southern USA Resources, Inc. (SUSA) was a Delaware corporation doing business in Ashland, Alabama, in Clay County, within the Northern District of Alabama. From in and around 2012 to in and around 2013, SUSA operated a gold mine in the Northern District of Alabama. SUSA registered its common stock with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 on or about May 10, 2012. SUSA securities were quoted on OTC Link, an electronic inter-dealer quotation system for over-the-counter securities, under the ticker symbol “SUSA.” SUSA shares were available for public trading until on or about March 1, 2013, when the SEC issued an order suspending trading in SUSA stock. BRIAN ROBERT SODI used Arliss to scalp SUSA stock during a promotion by BRIAN ROBERT SODI’s publishing houses that was executed from in and around 2012 to in and around 2013. On or about November 22, 2013, the SEC revoked SUSA’s registration for various violations of the securities laws.

g. Great Wall Builders Ltd. (GWBU) was a Texas corporation. GWBU common stock was registered with the SEC under Exchange Act Section 12(g) and was quoted on OTC Link under the ticker symbol “GWBU.” BRIAN ROBERT SODI used Arliss to scalp GWBU stock during a promotion by BRIAN ROBERT SODI’s publishing houses in and around 2012.

h. Potash America, Inc. (PTAM) was a Nevada corporation headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida (originally named Adtomize Inc.). PTAM common stock was registered with the SEC under Exchange Act Section 12(g) and was quoted on OTC Link under the ticker symbol “PTAM.” BRIAN ROBERT SODI used Arliss to scalp PTAM stock during a promotion by his publishing houses in and around 2012.

i. Goff, Corp. (GOFF) was a Nevada corporation headquartered in Cork City, Ireland. GOFF common stock was registered with the SEC under Exchange Act Section 12(g). BRIAN ROBERT SODI used Arliss to scalp GOFF stock during a promotion run by his publishing houses in and around 2013. GOFF securities were quoted on OTC Link under the ticker symbol “GOFF” and were available for public trading until on or about June 29, 2013, when GOFF terminated its stock registration.

Of the four stocks mentioned in the indictment, two of them (GOFF and GWBU) were also promoted by the infamous AwesomePennyStocks. I wrote a blog post detailing the Goff Corp (GOFF) stock promotion by email and by online landing page and hard mailer (distributed by Capital Financial Media). I wrote about the Great Wall Builders (GWBU) email promotion by Awesomepennystocks and how that campaign was interrupted by SpamHaus and iContact. I previously blogged about the SEC suspending trading in Southern USA Resources (SUSA). Tim Lento posted a scan of the front and disclaimer page of the SUSA hard mailer. Here is a copy of that scan.
The main allegations from the indictment are as follows:
6. It was further a part of the scheme that BRIAN ROBERT SODI’s mailers would falsely, deceptively, and misleadingly conceal and fail to disclose the material fact that BRIAN ROBERT SODI intended to sell the very stock that he was urging others to buy.

8. It was further a part of the scheme that sometimes, accomplices and co-conspirators of BRIAN ROBERT SODI, both known and unknown to the Grand Jury, would use “match trading,” i.e.,coordinated transactions designed to manipulate the stock price, to deceive investors into believing that the public was actively trading in the stock.
9. It was further a part of the scheme that after the stock price rose, BRIAN ROBERT SODI would sell the stock for a profit.
10. It was further a part of the scheme that BRIAN ROBERT SODI would conceal his ownership interest in the promoted stock by trading through Arliss, a Swiss account, instead of through a brokerage account held in his own name.
11. It was further a part of the scheme that BRIAN ROBERT SODI would repatriate the proceeds to himself and his publishing houses through offshore accounts held by firms in Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, and elsewhere.
THE CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT SECURITIES FRAUD
12. From in and around 2012 through in and around 2013, all dates inclusive, BRIAN ROBERT SODI, together with CW-1, CW-2, and others known and unknown to the Grand Jury, conspired to defraud investors in the Northern District of Alabama and elsewhere through the fraud scheme described above by executing trades of SUSA stock.

The SEC complaint (pdf) against Sodi and his companies includes some other details not in the indictment:

IT IS LIKELY THAT SODI HAS ENGAGED IN ADDITIONAL
SCALPING FRAUD WITHIN THE LAST FIVE YEARS
Sodi for Years Had Access to Administrative Firm A’s Network of Offshore Accounts
83. Sodi made regular use of Swiss Administrative Firm A – administered accounts from as far back as 2005 and continuing through at least 2015, as demonstrated by, among other things:
a. both Front Company A and Front Company B being Swiss Administrative Firm A-administered accounts;
b. a third, older account (“Front Company C”), which was active from at least early 2005 through early 2010, and which was also Swiss Administrative Firm A-administered – having been used repeatedly to make payments for Sodi’s benefit to many of the same persons and entities to which Front Company A likewise made payments, including parties who designed, built and landscaped Sodi’s vacation home on Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast, “Casa Sodi”;
c. Swiss Administrative Firm A itself having sent at least one wire, on September 8, 2010, to Sodi’s very same “player account” at the very same Casino to which Front Company A also wired funds (as alleged in paragraph 28 above);
d. other Swiss Administrative Firm A-administered accounts, including “omnibus” accounts, transferring funds to, and/or receiving funds from, the Front Company A account; and
e. other Swiss Administrative Firm A-administered accounts wiring funds to reload the very same Swiss Visa Card that Front Company B, as alleged in paragraph 81.c above, wired funds to reload.

After that section the SEC complaint details alleged scalping in PTAM and GWBU in 2012. One alleged detail of note (emphasis mine):

At the time of these purchases, Sodi knew that the massive GWBU promotional campaign his Penny Stock Promotion Platform had prepared was about to launch, and that it would also coincide and be coordinated with a massive APS campaign likewise promoting GWBU.

The complaint continues to allege other stocks scalped after 2013, although it lists only one stock, Graham & Hill Industries (GHIL):

88. In addition to the Front Company A and Front Company B-linked funds that were routed circuitously to Sodi’s CFM entity in April 2014 via Hong Kong Account A, as alleged in paragraph 81.b above, other funds followed a similar path. These include six transfers totaling $950,000 between June 18 and September 22, 2014 from Hong Kong Account A to Sodi’s LDS entity.

89. Sodi’s Penny Stock Promotion Platform booked all $950,000 of the aforementioned wires from Hong Kong Account A as income relating to the Sodi Platform’s promotion of a marijuana stock called Graham & Hill Industries (GHIL). Every penny of this $950,000 however, was first sent to Hong Kong Account A by the very same account – which happened to be at a Cayman Islands bank – that was selling GHIL stock into the price and volume rises generated by that touting campaign. Moreover, every penny of this $950,000 was funded by sales of GHIL stock.

The SEC complaint also alleges that Sodi lied to SEC staff:

93. During the staff’s investigation leading to the filing of this action, Sodi appeared for testimony. During that testimony, Sodi made false statements, including claims that he (i) never had, and never was given the use of, any foreign accounts; (ii) never received or shared, directly or indirectly, in any proceeds of any sales of any of the stocks his publishing houses promoted; and (iii) had never – apart from a single instance over twelve years ago – been paid in stock for running a promotional campaign.

 

My Records of CFM and LDS stock promotions

I have collected a large number of records of stock promotions on this blog. While this collection is not exhaustive, I do make sure to collect disclaimer info and details of the promotion for each big promotion I have blogged about. Below are all the stocks not mentioned in the SEC complaint or indictment for which I have records showing CFM or LDS as being involved in the promotion. I blogged about many of these but many of the promotions below are linked only to archived webpages at The Internet Archive showing the promotion; others are linked to PDF copies of the online landing pages promoting the stocks that I made at the time of the promotion.

Note that my inclusion of the promotions in this below list does not mean that I believe that Sodi or his companies violated the law in promoting these companies — it is possible to legally promote a company — I only indicate that he and/or his companies promoted these stocks. Dates below are approximate — many of these promotions ran for many months.

Green & Hill Industries (GHIL): List Data Solutions (June, 2014)

Mining Metals of Mexico (WIIM): List Data Solutions (April, 2014)

Black River Petroleum (BRPC): Capital Financial Media (April, 2014)

Guar Global (GGBL): List Data Solutions (December, 2013)

Amazonica Corp (AMZZ): Capital Financial Media (November, 2013)

Xumanii Corp (XUII): Capital Financial Media (July, 2013)

Lot78 Inc (LOTE): Capital Financial Medial (March, 2013)

PacWest Industries (PWEI): Capital Financial Media (March, 2013)

Swingplane Ventures (SWVI): Capital Financial Media (February 2013) (Thanks to Tim Lento for the scan of the mailer)

Graphite Corp (GRPH): List Data Solutions (February 2013)

Lifetech (LTCH): Capital Financial Media (November, 2012)

Stevia Corp (STEV): Capital Financial Media (September, 2012)

Stevia Nutrition (STNT): Capital Financial Media (August, 2012)

Boldface Group (BLBK): Capital Financial Media (August, 2012)

American Energy Development (AEDC): Capital Financial Media (July, 2012)

Psychic Friends Network (PFNI): Capital Financial Media (May, 2012)

Sunpeaks Ventures (SNPK): Capital Financial Media (April, 2012)

North Springs Resources (NSRS): Capital Financial Media (January, 2012)

Xcelmobility (XCLL): Capital Financial Media (January, 2012)

White Smile Global (WSML): Capital Financial Media (November, 2011)

TakeDown Entertainment (TKDN): Capital Financial Media (September, 2011) (Archived copy of promotion landing page)

Allezoe Medical (ALZM): Capital Financial Media (July, 2011) (Archived copy of promotion landing page)

Portage Resources (POTG): Capital Financial Media (June, 2011)

Xinde Technology (WTFS): Capital Financial Media (June, 2011)

OncoSec Medical (ONCS): Capital Financial Media (May, 2011)

First American Silver (FASV): Capital Financial Media (April, 2011)

Avatar Ventures Corp (AVVC): Capital Financial Media (April, 2011) (Archived copy of promotion landing page)

Kunekt Corp (KNKT): Capital Financial Media (February, 2011)

Hiroyoshi Worldwide (HHWW): Capital Financial Media (February, 2011)

 

Many more stock promotions run by List Data Solutions and/or Capital Financial Media can be found by using the Internet Archive Wayback Machine on SmallcapFortunes.com although the pump pages were not accessible directly from the main page, so a reader needs to find the direct link to find the archived page. It appears that at least at one point Capital Financial Media LLC owned SmallCapFortunes.com (another messageboard source from someone I trust saying the same thing). The current owner of the SmallCapFortunes.com domain name is Trinity Investment Research LLC of Florida (per current WHOIS search; screen capture).

Disclaimer: I have no position in any stock mentioned above. I have no relationship with any parties mentioned above. This blog has a terms of use that is incorporated by reference into this post; you can find all my disclaimers and disclosures there as well.

SEC Suspends trading in 3 suspected pump & dumps

This morning the SEC suspended trading in three stocks that had “unusual and unexplained market activity” (in other words, they looked like pump and dumps) and because of questions about the accuracy of the companies’ press releases and 8-Ks. The date on all the suspensions is July 3rd but the most liquid of the stocks CYPE traded all day July 3rd (a half-day) and the suspensions didn’t show up in the SEC trading suspension RSS feed until this morning after the open.

The three stocks are: Century Petroleum Corp (CYPE), Big Time Holdings, Inc (BTHI), and Williamsville Sears Management (WSML). All three companies show Brian K. Kistler as a consultant or officer. On OTCMarkets.com he is listed as CEO of BTHI and a consultant at WSML and a consultant at CYPE.

LinkedIn lists Mandla J. Gwadiso as founder of BTHI and WSML (pdf copy of his LinkedIn profile). He just tweeted two days ago that he was going to buy CYPE stock:

 

See more about these companies here:

Century Petroleum Corp (CYPE)
SEC suspension release (pdf)
SEC suspension order (pdf)

Reason for the suspension (from the release):

The Commission temporarily suspended trading in the securities of CYPE because of questions about the accuracy of information in the company’s press releases since at least May 25, 2018, regarding the company’s business plans and acquisitions, and concerns since at least May 25, 2018, about recent, unusual and unexplained market activity in the company’s common stock.

CYPE daily candlestick chart:

Big Time Holdings, Inc (BTHI)
SEC suspension release (pdf)
SEC suspension order (pdf)

Reason for the suspension (from the release):

The Commission temporarily suspended trading in the securities of BTHI because of questions about the accuracy of information contained in BTHI’s Form 8-K filed with the Commission on May 24, 2018, and concerns since at least May 24, 2018, about recent, unusual and unexplained market activity in the company’s common stock.

BTHI daily candlestick chart:

Williamsville Sears Management (WSML)
SEC suspension release (pdf)
SEC suspension order (pdf)

Reason for the suspension (from the release):

The Commission temporarily suspended trading in the securities of WSML because of questions about the accuracy of information in the company’s press releases since at least May 29, 2018, regarding the company’s business plans and acquisitions, and concerns since at least March 9, 2018, about recent, unusual and unexplained market activity in the company’s common stock.

WSML daily candlestick chart:

 

Disclaimer: I have no position in any stock mentioned above. I have no relationship with any parties mentioned above. This blog has a terms of use that is incorporated by reference into this post; you can find all my disclaimers and disclosures there as well.

The Great Seadrill trade I missed and the OCC

First, because I cannot resist — just replace “OPP” with “OCC” when you sing along.


I’m not down with OPP. But I am down with The OCC (The Options Clearing Corporation). They are the ones who determine settlement and other important technical details of traded options. For most options traders, The OCC is unimportant — each option has a strike price and an expiry date and that is all that really matters. But when there are corporate events such as mergers, splits, bankruptcies, and the like, the OCC’s decisions become important.

Seadrill Inc (SDRL) just emerged today from its long trip through bankruptcy. From the company’s press release:

SDRL – Seadrill Announces Emergence from Chapter 11

Hamilton, Bermuda, July 2, 2018 – Seadrill Limited (“Seadrill” or the “Company“) announces today (the “Effective Date“) that it has emerged from chapter 11 after successfully completing its reorganization pursuant to its chapter 11 plan of reorganization (the “Plan“). All conditions precedent to the restructuring contemplated by the Plan have been satisfied or otherwise waived.

The Plan has equitized approximately $2.4 billion in unsecured bond obligations, more than $1 billion in contingent newbuild obligations, substantial unliquidated guaranty obligations, and c. $250 million in unsecured interest rate and currency swap claims, while extending near term debt maturities, providing the Company with over $1 billion in fresh capital and leaving employee, customer, and ordinary trade claims largely unimpaired.

The Plan has re-profiled the Company’s debt and provided substantial liquidity that puts the Company in a strong position to execute its business plan. The figures presented below highlight key financial metrics as of the Effective Date:

  • total cash of c.$2.1 billion;
  • secured bank debt of c.$5.7 billion with the first maturity in 2022;
  • new Secured Notes of c.$880 million maturing in 2025;
  • backlog of c.$2.3 billion for Seadrill Limited, excluding Seamex and Seadrill Partners; and
  • common shares issued of 100 million as described further below.

Issuance, Listing and Trading of New Common Stock

The Company has received approval to list its new common shares with the new CUSIP number G7998G 106 (the “New Common Shares“) on the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE“) under the same NYSE ticker symbol “SDRL” as the Company’s existing common shares (with the CUSIP G7945E 105) (the “Existing Shares“).  Subject to the relevant approvals, the Company also intends to have its equity listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange (ISIN BMG7998G1069).

On the Effective Date, the Company will have approximately 100 million New Common Shares outstanding.  The New Common Shares will be allocated as set forth below, in accordance with provisions of the Plan and issued on the Effective Date:

  • 14.25% of the New Common Shares issued to holders of unsecured claims against the Company and certain of its chapter 11 debtor affiliates;
  • 23.75% of the New Common Shares issued to participants in the $200 million equity investment under the Plan;
  • 54.625% of the New Common Shares issued to participants in the $880 million new secured notes investment under the Plan;
  • 1.9% of the New Common Shares issued to holders of existing common equity interest in the Company as of the Effective Date, an effective exchange ratio of approximately 0.0037345 New Common Shares per each Existing Share, and
  • 5.475% of the New Common Shares issued as a structuring fee to certain of the new money investors.

Trading in approximately 16 million New Common Shares issued to existing shareholders and holders of unsecured claims will commence on the NYSE one day after the Effective Date, on July 3, 2018, under the ticker symbol “SDRL”. Additional shares may commence trading in the coming weeks after a resale registration statement on Form F-1 with respect to additional shares issued on the Effective Date to certain investors is declared effective by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Existing Shares will continue to trade on both the NYSE and Oslo Stock Exchanges under the same ticker symbol through the close of trading on the Effective Date but thereafter such trading will be suspended and the shares will be cancelled in due course.

Because the Company will continue to use the ticker symbol SDRL, holders of Existing Shares, brokers, dealers and agents effecting trades in the Existing Shares, and persons who expect to receive New Common Shares or effect trades in New Common Shares, should take note of the anticipated cancellation of the Existing Shares and issuance of New Common Shares, and the two different CUSIP numbers signifying the Existing Shares and the New Common Shares, in trading or taking any other actions in respect of shares of the Company that trade under the “SDRL” ticker.

Any questions regarding these distributions should be directed to the Company’s claims and noticing agent, Prime Clerk, on the numbers provided below.

Yesterday the OCC filed the preliminary notice (pdf) for how SDRL options would be treated. Below is the important part:

On April 17, 2018, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas Victoria Division confirmed the Second Amended Joint Plan of Reorganization (“Plan”) for Seadrill Limited (SDRL). The Plan became effective on July 2, 2018, and SDRL shares were canceled. Under the Plan, SDRL shares will be converted into the right to receive approximately 0.0037345 (New) Seadrill Limited Common Share. Pursuant to the Plan, fractional shares will be rounded up or down to the nearest whole share with half shares being
rounded down.

Because fractional share amounts less than 0.5 will be rounded down, it is anticipated that SDRL1 options will not be adjusted to call for delivery of (New) SDRL Common Shares (100 x approximately 0.0037345 = approximately 0.37345). OCC will delay settlement until the final rate has been confirmed.

What this means is that the options will now be for zero shares of new SDRL. So one $0.50 put will pay out $50.00. So even if someone had bought $0.50 puts at $0.45 yesterday they will still make a nice 11% return. Do note that this OCC memo is preliminary and the final memo and settlement have not yet occurred. I will update this blog post once final settlement on the options has occurred.

Comparison to Ocean Rig (ORIG) bankruptcy emergence options adjustment

In September 2017 Ocean Rig UDW (ORIG) emerged from bankruptcy with old shareholders getting a tiny fraction of new shares. In that instance, the old options were cash-settled. See the preliminary OCC notice (dated 9/21/2017) and the final OCC notice (dated 9/27/2017).

From the preliminary OCC notice:

Ocean Rig UDW Inc. (ORIG) has announced a 1-for-9200 reverse stock split/Scheme of Arrangement. As a result of the reverse stock split/Scheme of Arrangement, each ORIG Common Share will be converted into the right to receive approximately 0.0001087 (New) Ocean Rig UDW Inc. Common Shares. The reverse stock split will become effective before the market open on September 22, 2017. Cash will be paid in lieu of fractional ORIG shares

The cash in lieu amount was then determined ( and announced in the final OCC memo:

Adjusted Ocean Rig UDW Inc. options were adjusted on September 22, 2017 (See OCC Information Memo #41867). The new deliverable became cash in lieu of approximately 0.01087 fractional ORIG Shares. The settlement of the ORIG1 options exercise/assignment activity was subject to delayed settlement.

OCC has been informed that a price of $23.50 per whole ORIG share will be used to determine the cash in lieu amount at a rate of 0.01087.

Accordingly, the cash in lieu amount is:
0.01087 x $23.50 = $0.26 per ORIG1 Contract

Now that the exact cash in lieu amount has been determined, OCC will require Put exercisers and Call assignees, during the period of September 22, 2017 through September 27, 2017, to deliver the appropriate cash amount

I was told by an experienced trader that I trust that how the OCC determines settlement in these cases of corporate events is determined by the company — so when a similar situation happens in the future both the cash in lieu of settlement and the rounding of shares (up or down) are both possible.

For the record: some final charts of Seadrill during the bankruptcy:

  

And here is a final chart of Seadrill affiliate North Atlantic Drilling (NADLQ), whose shareholders were completely wiped out in the bankruptcy:

I did not short NADLQ because of the high borrow rate and low price and uncertainty about when the stock would be deleted.

And here is the Ocean Rig UDW (ORIG) chart showing the time during which it emerged from bankruptcy — it appears that the two daily candlesticks in the $700 range are data errors — the stock closed at $0.075 on the last day of trading prior to emergence from bankruptcy and the 9200 for 1 reverse split. It opened around $40 the next day (it actually opened above $100 but those trades were busted)

Here are charts showing the actual prices (with no apparent data errors):

Disclaimer. I am short a tiny position of SDRL July 20th 2018 $0.50 calls. No position in any other stock mentioned and I have no relationship with anyone mentioned in this post. This blog has a terms of use that is incorporated by reference into this post; you can find all my disclaimers and disclosures there as well.

Update on Eros International v. Short sellers litigation

It has now been eight months since Eros International (EROS) sued a large number of short sellers for defamation after they publicly criticized the company. Anyone can see the court docket and download files for free at the New York County Supreme Court website (the case is 653096/2017). So far a not much has been decided in the case, with the majority of the defendants having responded having filed motions to dismiss and Eros attempting to move to discovery. The plaintiffs and defendants (specifically,  the Mangrove Defendants, the GeoInvesting Defendants, and the ClaritySpring Defendants) wrote to the judge (read the letter) on May 4th, 2018 to argue whether it was proper to move to discovery prior to the judge considering the motion to dismiss. The judge has not yet decided those issues.

A number of subpoenas were served on third parties by Eros’ counsel to attempt to ascertain the identity of John Doe defendants and this has taken up a lot of time. On February 22nd the judge ruled that Eros had until June 1st to properly serve remaining John Doe defendants. See doc 161 (pdf) for ruling.

On February 14th, 2018 the judge granted Eros’ motion for default against Manuel Asensio and Mill Rock Advisors for failing to respond to the complaint. See doc 160 (pdf) for ruling.

A copy of the docket (direct-linking to documents at the court website) is below:

Page:  1 2 3 >> Last
To view details, click on the Doc # link
Doc # Document Type
Information
Status Received Date
Filing User
View
 1 SUMMONS WITH NOTICE 
Summons with Notice
Processed 06/06/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 2 SUMMONS – SUPPLEMENTAL (PRE RJI) 
Supplemental Summons
Processed 09/29/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 3 COMPLAINT 
Complaint
Processed 09/29/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 4 EXPARTE ORDER (PROPOSED)  (Motion# 001) 
(Proposed) Ex Parte Order to Extend Time to Serve John Doe Defendants Nos. 1-20
Processed 09/29/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 5 AFFIDAVIT OR AFFIRMATION IN SUPPORT OF PROPOSED OSC/EXPARTE APP  (Motion# 001) 
Affirmation in Support of Motion to Extend Time to Serve John Doe Defendants Nos. 1-20
Processed 09/29/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 6 EXHIBIT(S)   – A  (Motion# 001) 
Original Summons with Notice
Processed 09/29/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 7 EXHIBIT(S)   – B  (Motion# 001) 
Supplemental Summons with Notice
Processed 09/29/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 8 RJI -RE: OTHER EX PARTE APPLICATION  (Motion# 001) Processed 09/29/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 9 ADDENDUM – COMMERCIAL DIVISION (840C)  (Motion# 001) Processed 09/29/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 10 AFFIRMATION/AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE 
Affidavit of Service of the Supplemental Summons, Summons with Notice, Complaint, and Notice of Comm(..)
Processed 10/03/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 11 AFFIRMATION/AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE 
Affidavit of Service of the Supplemental Summons, Summons with Notice, Complaint, and Notice of Comm(..)
Processed 10/03/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 12 AFFIRMATION/AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE 
Affidavit of Service of the Supplemental Summons, Summons with Notice, Complaint, and Notice of Comm(..)
Processed 10/03/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 13 AFFIRMATION/AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE 
Affidavit of Service of the Supplemental Summons, Summons with Notice, Complaint, and Notice of Comm(..)
Processed 10/03/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 14 AFFIRMATION/AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE 
Affidavit of Service of the Supplemental Summons, Summons with Notice, Complaint, and Notice of Comm(..)
Processed 10/03/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 15 AFFIRMATION/AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE 
Affidavit of Service of the Supplemental Summons, Summons with Notice, Complaint, and Notice of Comm(..)
Processed 10/03/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 16 DECISION + ORDER ON MOTION  (Motion# 001) Processed 10/06/2017
Court User
Confirmation Notice
 17 AFFIRMATION/AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE 
Affidavit of Service of the Supplemental Summons, Summons with Notice, Complaint, and Notice of Comm(..)
Processed 10/10/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 18 AFFIRMATION/AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE 
Affidavit of Service of the Supplemental Summons, Summons with Notice, Complaint, and Notice of Comm(..)
Processed 10/10/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 19 AFFIRMATION/AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE 
Affidavit of Service of the Supplemental Summons, Summons with Notice, Complaint, and Notice of Comm(..)
Processed 10/10/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 20 AFFIRMATION/AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE 
Affidavit of Service of the Supplemental Summons, Summons with Notice, Complaint, and Notice of Comm(..)
Processed 10/10/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 21 AFFIRMATION/AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE 
Affidavit Of Service Of Notice Of Commencement, Summons With Notice, and Supplemental Summons And Co(..)
Processed 10/11/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 22 AFFIRMATION/AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE 
Affidavit Of Service Of Notice Of Commencement, Summons With Notice, and Supplemental Summons And Co(..)
Processed 10/11/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 23 AFFIRMATION/AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE 
Affidavit of Service of Notice of Commencement of Action Subject to Mandatory Electronic Filing, Sum(..)
Processed 10/13/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 24 AFFIRMATION/AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE 
Affidavit of Service of Notice of Commencement of Action Subject to Mandatory Electronic Filing, Sum(..)
Processed 10/13/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 25 AFFIRMATION/AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE 
Supplemental Affidavit of Service of the Supplemental Summons, Summons with Notice, Complaint, and N(..)
Processed 10/13/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 26 STIPULATION – OTHER – ( REQUEST TO SO ORDER ) 
Stipulation Extending the Time to Respond to the Complaint
Processed 10/23/2017
Asaro, M.
Confirmation Notice
 27 NOTICE OF APPEARANCE (POST RJI) 
Patrick L. Rocco for ClaritySpring, Inc., ClaritySpring Securities LLC and Nathan Z. Anderson
Processed 10/27/2017
Rocco, P.
Confirmation Notice
 28 NOTICE OF APPEARANCE (POST RJI) 
Susan M. Davies for Defendants ClaritySpring, Inc., ClaritySpring Securities LLC and Nathan Z. Ander(..)
Processed 10/27/2017
Davies, S.
Confirmation Notice
 29 STIPULATION – SO ORDERED Processed 10/30/2017
Court User
Confirmation Notice
 30 STIPULATION – OTHER – ( REQUEST TO SO ORDER ) 
Stipulation Extending Time to Respond to Complaint
Processed 10/30/2017
Davies, S.
Confirmation Notice
 31 STIPULATION – SO ORDERED Processed 11/06/2017
Court User
Confirmation Notice
 32 ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE ( PROPOSED )  (Motion# 002) 
For pro hac vice admission of Stephen Ryan, Jr.
Processed 11/16/2017
Davies, S.
Confirmation Notice
 33 Deleted
 34 AFFIRMATION 
Affirmation of Susan M. Davies
Processed 11/16/2017
Davies, S.
Confirmation Notice
 35 STIPULATION – OTHER 
Stipulation to Admission Pro Hac Vice
Processed 11/16/2017
Davies, S.
Confirmation Notice
 36 AFFIDAVIT OR AFFIRMATION IN SUPPORT  (Motion# 002) 
Affidavit of Stephen Ryan, Jr.
Processed 11/16/2017
Davies, S.
Confirmation Notice
 37 AFFIDAVIT OR AFFIRMATION IN SUPPORT  (Motion# 002) 
Affirmation of Susan M. Davies
Processed 11/16/2017
Davies, S.
Confirmation Notice
 38 STIPULATION – OTHER  (Motion# 002) 
Stipulation to Pro Hac Vice Admission
Processed 11/16/2017
Davies, S.
Confirmation Notice
 39 ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE ( PROPOSED )  (Motion# 003) 
Proposed Order to Show Cause for Pro Hac Vice Admission of Bryan A. Wood
Processed 11/16/2017
Davies, S.
Confirmation Notice
 40 AFFIDAVIT OR AFFIRMATION IN SUPPORT  (Motion# 003) 
Affidavit of Bryan A. Wood
Processed 11/16/2017
Davies, S.
Confirmation Notice
 41 AFFIDAVIT OR AFFIRMATION IN SUPPORT  (Motion# 003) 
Affirmation of Susan M. Davies
Processed 11/16/2017
Davies, S.
Confirmation Notice
 42 STIPULATION – OTHER  (Motion# 003) 
Stipulation to Pro Hac Vice Admission
Processed 11/16/2017
Davies, S.
Confirmation Notice
 43 AFFIRMATION/AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE 
Affidavits of Service re: ClaritySpring Securities LLC
Processed 11/17/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 44 DECISION + ORDER ON MOTION  (Motion# 002) Processed 11/27/2017
Court User
Confirmation Notice
 45 DECISION + ORDER ON MOTION  (Motion# 003) Processed 11/27/2017
Court User
Confirmation Notice
 46 LETTER / CORRESPONDENCE TO JUDGE 
Letter requesting page limit enlargement
Processed 11/28/2017
Wise, T.
Confirmation Notice
 47 ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE ( PROPOSED )  (Motion# 005) Processed 11/30/2017
Asaro, M.
Confirmation Notice
 48 MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN SUPPORT  (Motion# 005) Processed 11/30/2017
Asaro, M.
Confirmation Notice
 49 AFFIDAVIT OR AFFIRMATION IN SUPPORT OF PROPOSED OSC/EXPARTE APP  (Motion# 005) 
Affirmation of Jessica A. Fitts in Support of Defendants Mangrove Partners’ and Nathaniel H. August'(..)
Processed 11/30/2017
Asaro, M.
Confirmation Notice
 50 EXHIBIT(S)   – 1  (Motion# 005) 
October 30, 2015 report
Processed 11/30/2017
Asaro, M.
Confirmation Notice
 51 EXHIBIT(S)   – 2  (Motion# 005) 
November 10, 2015 report
Processed 11/30/2017
Asaro, M.
Confirmation Notice
 52 EXHIBIT(S)   – 3  (Motion# 005) 
November 13, 2015 report
Processed 11/30/2017
Asaro, M.
Confirmation Notice
 53 EXHIBIT(S)   – 4  (Motion# 005) 
November 20, 2015 report
Processed 11/30/2017
Asaro, M.
Confirmation Notice
 54 EXHIBIT(S)   – 5  (Motion# 005) 
October 23, 2015 report
Processed 11/30/2017
Asaro, M.
Confirmation Notice
 55 EXHIBIT(S)   – 6  (Motion# 005) 
October 26, 2015 report
Processed 11/30/2017
Asaro, M.
Confirmation Notice
 56 EXHIBIT(S)   – 7  (Motion# 005) 
October 23, 2015 article
Processed 11/30/2017
Asaro, M.
Confirmation Notice
 57 EXHIBIT(S)   – 8  (Motion# 005) 
“Alpha Exposure” tweets through September 29, 2017
Processed 11/30/2017
Asaro, M.
Confirmation Notice
 58 EXHIBIT(S)   – 9  (Motion# 005) 
August 14, 2017 report
Processed 11/30/2017
Asaro, M.
Confirmation Notice
 59 EXHIBIT(S)   – 10  (Motion# 005) 
Complaint
Processed 11/30/2017
Asaro, M.
Confirmation Notice
 60 ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE ( PROPOSED )  (Motion# 004) 
Proposed Order to Show Cause to Dismiss the Complaint Pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(1),(7)
Processed 11/30/2017
Deleeuw, M.
Confirmation Notice
 61 AFFIDAVIT OR AFFIRMATION IN SUPPORT OF PROPOSED OSC/EXPARTE APP  (Motion# 004) 
Affirmation of Michael de Leeuw In Support Of Order To Show Cause To Dismiss The Complaint Pursuant (..)
Processed 11/30/2017
Deleeuw, M.
Confirmation Notice
 62 EXHIBIT(S)   – 1  (Motion# 004) 
Exhibit 1 to de Leeuw Affirmation
Processed 11/30/2017
Deleeuw, M.
Confirmation Notice
 63 EXHIBIT(S)   – 2  (Motion# 004) 
Exhibit 2 to de Leeuw Affirmation
Processed 11/30/2017
Deleeuw, M.
Confirmation Notice
 64 EXHIBIT(S)   – 3  (Motion# 004) 
Exhibit 3 to de Leeuw Affirmation
Processed 11/30/2017
Deleeuw, M.
Confirmation Notice
 65 EXHIBIT(S)   – 4  (Motion# 004) 
Exhibit 4 to de Leeuw Affirmation
Processed 11/30/2017
Deleeuw, M.
Confirmation Notice
 66 EXHIBIT(S)   – 5  (Motion# 004) 
Exhibit 5 to de Leeuw Affirmation
Processed 11/30/2017
Deleeuw, M.
Confirmation Notice
 67 EXHIBIT(S)   – 6  (Motion# 004) 
Exhibit 6 to de Leeuw Affirmation
Processed 11/30/2017
Deleeuw, M.
Confirmation Notice
 68 EXHIBIT(S)   – 7  (Motion# 004) 
Exhibit 7 to de Leeuw Affirmation
Processed 11/30/2017
Deleeuw, M.
Confirmation Notice
 69 EXHIBIT(S)   – 8  (Motion# 004) 
Exhibit 8 to de Leeuw Affirmation
Processed 11/30/2017
Deleeuw, M.
Confirmation Notice
 70 EXHIBIT(S)   – 9  (Motion# 004) 
Exhibit 9 to de Leeuw Affirmation
Processed 11/30/2017
Deleeuw, M.
Confirmation Notice
 71 EXHIBIT(S)   – 10  (Motion# 004) 
Exhibit 10 to de Leeuw Affirmation
Processed 11/30/2017
Deleeuw, M.
Confirmation Notice
 72 MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN SUPPORT  (Motion# 004) 
Memorandum of Law in Support of Order to Show Cause to Dismiss the Complaint Pursuant to CPLR 3211(a(..)
Processed 11/30/2017
Deleeuw, M.
Confirmation Notice
 73 ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE ( PROPOSED )  (Motion# 006) 
for Dismissal of All Causes of Action Against ClaritySprings, Inc., ClaritySprings Securities LLC an(..)
Processed 11/30/2017
Rocco, P.
Confirmation Notice
 74 AFFIRMATION  (Motion# 006) 
Affirmation of Susan M. Davies re Briefing Schedule
Processed 11/30/2017
Rocco, P.
Confirmation Notice
 75 EXHIBIT(S)   – 1  (Motion# 006) 
Davies Exhibit 1 (Order Entered 11/6/2017 NYSCEF 31)
Processed 11/30/2017
Rocco, P.
Confirmation Notice

Page: 1 2 3 >> Last

Page:  << 1 2 3 >> Last
To view details, click on the Doc # link
Doc # Document Type
Information
Status Received Date
Filing User
View
 76 EXHIBIT(S)   – 2  (Motion# 006) 
Davies Exhibit 2 (Order Entered 10/30/2017 NYSCEF 29)
Processed 11/30/2017
Rocco, P.
Confirmation Notice
 77 AFFIDAVIT  (Motion# 006) 
Affidavit of Stephen Ryan, Jr.
Processed 11/30/2017
Rocco, P.
Confirmation Notice
 78 EXHIBIT(S)   – 1  (Motion# 006) 
Ryan Exhibit 1 (ClaritySpring Inc. Twitter Page)
Processed 11/30/2017
Rocco, P.
Confirmation Notice
 79 EXHIBIT(S)   – 2  (Motion# 006) 
Ryan Exhibit 2 (ClaritySpring Inc. Tweet 3/9/2017)
Processed 11/30/2017
Rocco, P.
Confirmation Notice
 80 EXHIBIT(S)   – 3  (Motion# 006) 
Ryan Exhibit 3 (ClaritySpring Inc. Tweet 3/17/2017)
Processed 11/30/2017
Rocco, P.
Confirmation Notice
 81 EXHIBIT(S)   – 3A  (Motion# 006) 
Ryan Exhibit 3A (ValueWalk Article “GeoInvesting Now Says Eros Facing ‘Very Real Liquidity Crisis'”)
Processed 11/30/2017
Rocco, P.
Confirmation Notice
 82 EXHIBIT(S)   – 4  (Motion# 006) 
Ryan Exhibit 4 (ClaritySpring Inc. Tweet 3/31/2017)
Processed 11/30/2017
Rocco, P.
Confirmation Notice
 83 EXHIBIT(S)   – 4A  (Motion# 006) 
Ryan Exhibit 4A (“Quoth the Raven” Tweet)
Processed 11/30/2017
Rocco, P.
Confirmation Notice
 84 EXHIBIT(S)   – 5  (Motion# 006) 
Ryan Exhibit 5 (ClaritySpring Inc. Tweet 6/26/2017)
Processed 11/30/2017
Rocco, P.
Confirmation Notice
 85 EXHIBIT(S)   – 6  (Motion# 006) 
Ryan Exhibit 6 (ClaritySpring Inc. Tweet 7/21/2017)
Processed 11/30/2017
Rocco, P.
Confirmation Notice
 86 EXHIBIT(S)   – 7  (Motion# 006) 
Ryan Exhibit 7 (ClaritySpring Inc. Tweet 7/27/2017)
Processed 11/30/2017
Rocco, P.
Confirmation Notice
 87 EXHIBIT(S)   – 8  (Motion# 006) 
Ryan Exhibit 8 (Hindenburg Research Article “Eros Earning Review: An Abundance of Red Flags”
Processed 11/30/2017
Rocco, P.
Confirmation Notice
 88 EXHIBIT(S)   – 9  (Motion# 006) 
Ryan Exhibit 9 (Hindenburg Research Article “Eros’s Latest Buyout Rumors Seem Suspect”
Processed 11/30/2017
Rocco, P.
Confirmation Notice
 89 EXHIBIT(S)   – 10  (Motion# 006) 
Ryan Exhibit 10 (Hindenburg Research Article “Eros International: New Receivables Accounting Red Fl(..)
Processed 11/30/2017
Rocco, P.
Confirmation Notice
 90 EXHIBIT(S)   – 11  (Motion# 006) 
Ryan Exhibit 11 (Hindenburg Research Tweets 8/1/2017)
Processed 11/30/2017
Rocco, P.
Confirmation Notice
 91 EXHIBIT(S)   – 12  (Motion# 006) 
Ryan Exhibit 12 (Hindenburg Research Tweet 8/4/2017 at 10:32 am)
Processed 11/30/2017
Rocco, P.
Confirmation Notice
 92 EXHIBIT(S)   – 12A  (Motion# 006) 
Ryan Exhibit 12A (Article “Film Artists Working Abroad Shown as Exports to Evade Tax: CAG”)
Processed 11/30/2017
Rocco, P.
Confirmation Notice
 93 EXHIBIT(S)   – 13  (Motion# 006) 
Ryan Exhibit 13 (Hindenburg Research Tweet 8/4/2017 at 10:18 am)
Processed 11/30/2017
Rocco, P.
Confirmation Notice
 94 EXHIBIT(S)   – 13A  (Motion# 006) 
Ryan Exhibit 13A (Document from Indian Ministry of Corporate Affairs)
Processed 11/30/2017
Rocco, P.
Confirmation Notice
 95 MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN SUPPORT  (Motion# 006) 
Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion To Dismiss All Causes of Action Against ClaritySpring Inc., C(..)
Processed 11/30/2017
Rocco, P.
Confirmation Notice
 96 ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE  (Motion# 004) Processed 12/01/2017
Court User
Confirmation Notice
 97 ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE  (Motion# 005) Processed 12/01/2017
Court User
Confirmation Notice
 98 ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE ( PROPOSED )  (Motion# 007) 
(Proposed)Order To Show Cause
Processed 12/01/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 99 MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN SUPPORT  (Motion# 007) 
Memorandum Of Law In Support Of Plaintiffs Motion For Default Judgments Against Defendants Manuel P.(..)
Processed 12/01/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 100 AFFIDAVIT OR AFFIRMATION IN SUPPORT OF PROPOSED OSC/EXPARTE APP  (Motion# 007) 
Affirmation Of Michael J. Bowe In Support Of Plaintiffs Motion For Default Judgments Against Defenda(..)
Processed 12/01/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 101 EXHIBIT(S)   – A  (Motion# 007) 
Asensio Nail and Mail Affidavit of Service
Processed 12/01/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 102 EXHIBIT(S)   – B  (Motion# 007) 
Asensio Doorman Affidavit of Service
Processed 12/01/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 103 EXHIBIT(S)   – C  (Motion# 007) 
Asensio & Co SOS Affidavit of Service
Processed 12/01/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 104 EXHIBIT(S)   – D  (Motion# 007) 
Mill Rock SOS Affidavit of Service
Processed 12/01/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 105 EXHIBIT(S)   – E  (Motion# 007) 
CPLR_3215(g) Aff.
Processed 12/01/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 106 EXHIBIT(S)   – F  (Motion# 007) 
2017.11.20 Asensio Email
Processed 12/01/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 107 EXHIBIT(S)   – G  (Motion# 007) 
2017.11.22 Tountas Email
Processed 12/01/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 108 EXHIBIT(S)   – H  (Motion# 007) 
2017.11.22 Asensio Email
Processed 12/01/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 109 EXHIBIT(S)   – I  (Motion# 007) 
2017.11.24 Bowe Email
Processed 12/01/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 110 EXHIBIT(S)   – J  (Motion# 007) 
2017.11.24 Tountas Email
Processed 12/01/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 111 EXHIBIT(S)   – K  (Motion# 007) 
2017.11.25 Asensio Email
Processed 12/01/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 112 EXHIBIT(S)   – L  (Motion# 007) 
2017.11.28 Asensio Email
Processed 12/01/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 113 EXHIBIT(S)   – M  (Motion# 007) 
2017.11.29 Cantor Email
Processed 12/01/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 114 EXHIBIT(S)   – N  (Motion# 007) 
2017.10.20 Sorkin Email
Processed 12/01/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 115 EXHIBIT(S)   – O  (Motion# 007) 
2017.10.05 Alpha Exposure Tweets
Processed 12/01/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 116 EXHIBIT(S)   – P  (Motion# 007) 
2017.10.05 Asensio Tweet
Processed 12/01/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 117 NOTICE OF APPEARANCE (POST RJI) Processed 12/03/2017
Cantor, M.
Confirmation Notice
 118 AFFIDAVIT OR AFFIRMATION IN OPPOSITION TO ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE  (Motion# 007) 
Affidavit in Opposition to Proposed OSC
Processed 12/03/2017
Cantor, M.
Confirmation Notice
 119 EXHIBIT(S)   – 1  (Motion# 007) 
November 20, 2017 email
Processed 12/03/2017
Cantor, M.
Confirmation Notice
 120 EXHIBIT(S)   – 2  (Motion# 007) 
June 12, 2016 Letter
Processed 12/03/2017
Cantor, M.
Confirmation Notice
 121 ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE  (Motion# 006) Processed 12/04/2017
Court User
Confirmation Notice
 122 ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE  (Motion# 007) Processed 12/06/2017
Court User
Confirmation Notice
 123 AFFIRMATION/AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE  (Motion# 007) Processed 12/08/2017
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 124 STIPULATION – ADJOURNMENT OF MOTION – BEFORE JUDGE  (Motion# 007) Processed 01/12/2018
Cantor, M.
Confirmation Notice
 125 LETTER / CORRESPONDENCE TO JUDGE 
Letter to Justice Bransten requesting leave to file an omnibus opposition that does not exceed 60 pa(..)
Processed 01/16/2018
Tountas, S.
Confirmation Notice
 126 LETTER/CORRESPONDENCE – SO ORDERED Processed 01/17/2018
Court User
Confirmation Notice
 127 STIPULATION – ADJOURNMENT OF MOTION -IN SUBMISSIONS PART -RM 130  (Motion# 007) Processed 01/22/2018
Cantor, M.
Confirmation Notice
 128 MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN OPPOSITION  (Motion# 005) 
Plaintiff’s Memorandum of Law in Opposition to The Mangrove Defendants’ Order to Show Cause
Processed 01/23/2018
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 129 AFFIDAVIT OR AFFIRMATION IN OPPOSITION TO ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE  (Motion# 005) 
Affirmation of Michael J. Bowe in Opposition to The Mangrove Defendants’ Order to Show Cause
Processed 01/23/2018
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 130 EXHIBIT(S)   – A  (Motion# 005) 
Bloomberg News Feed
Processed 01/23/2018
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 131 MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN OPPOSITION  (Motion# 004) 
Plaintiff’s Memorandum of Law in Opposition to The GeoInvesting Defendants’ Order to Show Cause
Processed 01/23/2018
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 132 AFFIDAVIT OR AFFIRMATION IN OPPOSITION TO ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE  (Motion# 004) 
Affirmation of Michael J. Bowe in Opposition to The GeoInvesting Defendants’ Order to Show Cause
Processed 01/23/2018
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 133 EXHIBIT(S)   – A  (Motion# 004) 
Letter from Tountas to Anderson
Processed 01/23/2018
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 134 EXHIBIT(S)   – B  (Motion# 004) 
Bloomberg News Feed
Processed 01/23/2018
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 135 EXHIBIT(S)   – C  (Motion# 004) 
GeoInvesting Mar. 8, 2017 Article
Processed 01/23/2018
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 136 MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN OPPOSITION  (Motion# 006) 
Plaintiff’s Memorandum of Law in Opposition to The ClaritySpring Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss the C(..)
Processed 01/23/2018
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 137 AFFIDAVIT OR AFFIRMATION IN OPPOSITION TO ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE  (Motion# 006) 
Affirmation of Michael J. Bowe in Opposition to The Clarity Spring Defendants’ Order to Show Cause
Processed 01/23/2018
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 138 EXHIBIT(S)   – A  (Motion# 006) 
Letter from Tountas to Anderson
Processed 01/23/2018
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 139 EXHIBIT(S)   – B  (Motion# 006) 
Hindenburg SA Profile
Processed 01/23/2018
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 140 EXHIBIT(S)   – C  (Motion# 006) 
Bloomberg News Feed
Processed 01/23/2018
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 141 AFFIRMATION/AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE Processed 02/01/2018
Tountas, S.
Confirmation Notice
 142 ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE ( PROPOSED )  (Motion# 008) 
Plaintiff Eros International PLC’s Order to Show Cause to Extend Time
Processed 02/01/2018
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 143 AFFIDAVIT OR AFFIRMATION IN SUPPORT OF PROPOSED OSC/EXPARTE APP  (Motion# 008) 
Affirmation In Support Of Eros Second Motion To Extend Time To Serve John Doe Defendants Nos. 1-5 & (..)
Processed 02/01/2018
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 144 EXHIBIT(S)   – A  (Motion# 008) 
Summons with Notice
Processed 02/01/2018
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 145 EXHIBIT(S)   – B  (Motion# 008) 
Supplemental Summons
Processed 02/01/2018
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 146 EXHIBIT(S)   – C  (Motion# 008) 
Decision and Order
Processed 02/01/2018
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 147 EXHIBIT(S)   – D  (Motion# 008) 
Part 1
Processed 02/01/2018
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 148 EXHIBIT(S)   – D  (Motion# 008) 
Part 2
Processed 02/01/2018
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 149 EXHIBIT(S)   – E  (Motion# 008) 
StockTwits Subpoena Duces Tecum
Processed 02/01/2018
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 150 EXHIBIT(S)   – F  (Motion# 008) 
Scribd Subpoena Duces Tecum
Processed 02/01/2018
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice

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To view details, click on the Doc # link
Doc # Document Type
Information
Status Received Date
Filing User
View
 151 EXHIBIT(S)   – G  (Motion# 008) 
Twitter Subpoena
Processed 02/01/2018
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 152 EXHIBIT(S)   – H  (Motion# 008) 
LinkedIn Subpoena
Processed 02/01/2018
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 153 ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE  (Motion# 008) Processed 02/05/2018
Court User
Confirmation Notice
 154 MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN REPLY  (Motion# 006) Processed 02/07/2018
Rocco, P.
Confirmation Notice
 155 MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN REPLY  (Motion# 004) 
Reply In Further Support of Order to Show Cause By Defendants GeoInvesting, LLC, Christopher Irons, (..)
Processed 02/07/2018
Deleeuw, M.
Confirmation Notice
 156 MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN REPLY  (Motion# 005) 
Reply Memorandum of Law in Further Support of Defendants Mangrove Partners’ and Nathaniel H. August'(..)
Processed 02/07/2018
Asaro, M.
Confirmation Notice
 157 STIPULATION – ADJOURNMENT OF MOTION – BEFORE JUDGE  (Motion# 007) Processed 02/14/2018
Cantor, M.
Confirmation Notice
 158 LETTER / CORRESPONDENCE TO JUDGE  (Motion# 005) 
Letter to the Honorable Eileen Bransten from Joseph L. Sorkin dated 2/15/2018
Processed 02/15/2018
Sorkin, J.
Confirmation Notice
 159 LETTER / CORRESPONDENCE TO JUDGE 
Letter to Justice Bransten, dated February 16, 2018, from Michael J. Bowe, in response to Defendant(..)
Processed 02/16/2018
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice
 160 DECISION + ORDER ON MOTION  (Motion# 007) Processed 02/26/2018
Court User
Confirmation Notice
 161 DECISION + ORDER ON MOTION  (Motion# 008) Processed 02/26/2018
Court User
Confirmation Notice
 162 LETTER / CORRESPONDENCE TO JUDGE 
Joint Letter to Justice Bransten dated May 4, 2018 requesting Preliminary Conference
Processed 05/04/2018
Bowe, M.
Confirmation Notice

 

Disclaimer. I have no position in any stock mentioned above. I have no relationship with any parties mentioned above. This blog has a terms of use that is incorporated by reference into this post; you can find all my disclaimers and disclosures there as well.

Never ever trust online reviews of mattresses or trading services

I just read this excellent story on Casper and the world of online mattress review websites and that made me of course think of stock trading services and what happens if you try to find reviews of them. Unlike with mattresses, where a $50 affiliate commission is quite common on sales, with stock trading services commissions of 25% to 33% are common and they can go much, much higher. Also, with mattresses, even if you end up not particularly happy (as I am not that happy with my Helix Sleep mattress) at least you end up with a functional, new mattress. If you sign up for many trading services you will end up trying to learn to trade from somebody who fakes their own trades or lied about their own trading record. Even if you find a trading service that has a good track record and the person running it knows how to trade successfully, the odds still favor you losing money — because trading successfully is very hard.

Did you read the article on Casper and Sleepopolis at Fast Company yet? If not, do so now. The problem with the mattress review world (and I think this is a general problem for any product where online reviews can make or break them) is that the incentive for mattress companies is to do whatever is necessary to get to the top of rankings, no matter how. They can do that by incentivizing the reviewer with higher affiliate payouts or by giving the reviewer extra payments, such as a consulting agreement or some other payment scheme. The reviewer is incentivized to direct more people to the company giving him or her the highest payouts. The result is that the reviews for mattresses become completely untrustworthy — some review sites might be slightly biased, others might be totally biased, but it is hard to tell the difference. Of course the solution to this is to get a subscription to Consumer Reports which doesn’t have these conflicts of interest (I’m a happy subscriber and have been for a decade). Here are their mattress recommendations.

Unfortunately, Consumer Reports does not rate trading services or Twitter traders. Tim Sykes started Investimonials.com for the purpose of getting traders’ reviews of trading services but really that site never took off and never got much beyond the penny stock niche. And of course user reviews can be gamed, most obviously on Amazon.com. Even without monetary payments, a service provider can urge satisfied users to write reviews and thus increase their rating. Still, there is useful information in user reviews sites like Investimonials (or Yelp) — the user just needs to expect a positive bias and seek out both positive and negative reviews and read them in detail. If there are no negative reviews then that is a red flag — even the best businesses leave some customers unhappy.

And of course, this is just talking about half the problem — service providers offering reviewers inducements for positive reviews. They can also threaten libel lawsuits to eliminate negative reviews. Or they can pay the review website to remove negative reviews. This is quite possibly a worse problem and will cause the most negative reviews to tend to disappear from the internet. It is impossible to know how big of a problem this is.

Of course, one way to get around the problem of fake or gamed user reviews and the threat of lawsuits is to have a convicted felon with a huge judgment hanging over his head that he can never hope to pay write trading website reviews. But such a site (which exists, but I won’t link to it for reasons I explain below) can still suffer from the tendency to give positive reviews to services that then advertise with it. And the specific website I’m thinking of, while doing a pretty good job of identifying many frauds, seems to think that some legitimate (in my eyes) services are complete frauds. For that reason I won’t link to or even name Emmett’s website.

Why don’t I write reviews of various trading services? I learned a bunch from Tim Sykes and a couple other trading services and I obviously wouldn’t be able to be bias free. That is why I have not reviewed trading services that I have tried; the only times I have written about trading services is when I recommended them (at some point), or had some other reason to write about them (such as when a trading service was owned by stock promoters).

What can you, an aspiring trader, do? First, never trust claims of good performance. Anybody can claim that they turned $3,000 into $10 million. Ask to see some sort of real proof. Even more, look at a person’s trades and verify that they were possible and weren’t in illiquid stocks. No matter how positive your initial impression of a trading service, search out negative opinions (luckily, there are plenty of those on Twitter about everyone) and weigh those against the positive opinions you see. There are plenty of invalid criticisms as well as valid criticisms out there.

Unfortunately, there are so many people looking to get rich through trading that you likely will have no luck if you ask for account statements or tax returns to prove a guru’s performance (but I have some). Even after looking at a number of trades, it can be hard to tell if someone is a good trader — particularly over a short period of time a trader can be successful just because of the niche they are in. In a crazy bull market most swing traders will look great. Caveat emptor and do your own research. Most importantly, never blindly follow another trader — no matter what guru you follow, even if he or she is talented, you are likely to lose money just due to slippage.

Unfortunately, the only way to decide with high confidence if a trading service is worthwhile is to subscribe to it for months and assiduously track the trades of the guru to confirm that they are realistic and that they are consistently profitable. I even subscribed to Anthony Davian’s trading service for two months before concluding that he likely knew less than I did. In addition to that, you need to analyze their trading strategy to determine that it makes sense and that you could conceivably implement it yourself.

 

Disclaimer: I have a long and deep business relationship with Tim Sykes; see my full disclosure. I own a Helix Sleep mattress and subscribe to Consumer Reports. I have left a number of reviews on Investimonials but haven’t written any in years. No position in any stock mentioned and I have no relationship with anyone else mentioned in this post. This blog has a terms of use that is incorporated by reference into this post; you can find all my disclaimers and disclosures there as well.

 

Leafbuyer Technologies (LBUY) Stock promotion continues

In a world where stock promotions rarely last more than a few weeks before fizzling out, whether because the stock is hit with a Caveat Emptor designation at OTCMarkets.com or because of an SEC trading suspension, one stock promotion just keeps going since starting in earnest in late July. That promotion is of the marijuana-related company Leafbuyer Technologies (LBUY). Despite a market cap of $70 million, as of the company’s most recent form 10-KT it has reported assets of only $197,000 and a book value of only $97,000.

Leafbuyer Technologies has been promoted by a landing page found at http://wallst-news.com/priceline-pot-game-changer-marijuana-industry-smart-investors-seeing-green/

Disclosed budget: $813,000
Promoter:  WallSt-News.com
Paying party: Bonita Equity Inc
Shares outstanding: 38,380,663
Previous closing price: $1.84
Market capitalization: $70 million

 

Disclaimer:

Disclaimer: This release/advertorial (“Advertorial”) is a paid commercial advertisement and is for general information purposes only. WallSt-News.com makes no recommendation that the securities of the companies profiled or discussed on this website should be purchased, sold or held by viewers that learn of the profiled companies through our website. This Advertorial was paid for by Bonita Equity Inc, a non-issuer third party (“Third Party”) in an effort to enhance public awareness of Leafbuyer Technologies, Inc and its securities. Though WallStreet-News.com has not been compensated for this creation of this article, as the owner of this publication, it has received compensation up to $813,000 USD as today’s date in connection with the effort of raising awareness of LeafBuyer Technologies, Inc. Neither WallSt-News.com nor its controlling person or owner currently holds the securities of Leafbuyer Technologies, Inc. and does not currently intend to purchase such securities. Third Party is not responsible for the endorsement or contents of the statements contained in this Advertorial, which are the sole responsibilities of WallSt-News.com. Third Party did not draft, edit, approve, or exert any ultimate authority over the endorsement or contents of the statements contained in this Advertorial. Third Party is not responsible for and performed no due diligence in connection with Leafbuyer Technologies, Inc. or its securities and makes no warranties as to the accuracy of the information contained in this Advertorial. This Advertorial is based exclusively on information generally available to the public and does not contain any material, non-public information. WallSt-News.com does not warrant the accuracy of such information. Certain statements contained in this Advertorial may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and 21E of the Exchange Act of 1934. Statements that express or involve discussions with respect to predictions, expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, goals, assumptions, or future events or performance are not statements of historical fact. Forward looking statements may be identified through the use of such words as “projects,” “foresees,” “expects,” “will,” “anticipates,” “estimates,” “believes,” and “understands,” or by statements indicating certain actions “may,” “could,” or “might” occur. Forward-looking statements are based on expectations, estimates, and projections at the time the statements are made and involve a number of risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those presently anticipated. There is no guarantee that past performance will be indicative of future results. Differences in results can be caused by various factors including, but not limited to, the featured company’s ability to successfully complete planned funding agreements, successfully market its products in competitive industries, or effectively implement its business plan or strategies. Readers can review all public SEC filings made by the featured company at https://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/companysearch.html.LBUY 2017-10-16

WallSt-News.com is not a certified financial analyst or licensed in the securities industry in any manner. Please review all investment decisions with a licensed investment advisor.

PDF copy of promotion page

LBUY has also been promoted via emails such as by Marijuanastocks.com (which disclosed compensation of $20,000 in this September 26th email:

Disclaimer. I am short LBUY and I may add to or close this position at any time. No position in any other stock mentioned and I have no relationship with anyone mentioned in this post. This blog has a terms of use that is incorporated by reference into this post; you can find all my disclaimers and disclosures there as well.

 

 

Jason Napodano of Zacks Small Cap Research sued by SEC (and settles with them) and charged with criminal stock fraud for insider trading

Yesterday the SEC sued Jason Napodano of Zacks Small Cap Research as well as two other men, Bilal Basrai and Bryce Stirton. All three settled the civil suit without admitting or denying the allegations. See the SEC press release. In addition, the employer of all three men, LBMZ Securities (owner of Zacks), agreed to “pay a $240,000 penalty without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings that the firm failed to enforce policies and procedures designed to prevent its employees from misusing nonpublic information.”

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a stock market analyst with insider trading prior to the publication of research reports and articles he authored with the false disclaimer that he wasn’t trading in the companies being covered.  He agreed to settle the charges and be barred from trading in penny stocks for the rest of his life.

The SEC alleges that Jason Napodano, who headed a division called Zacks Small Cap Research within a larger investment research firm, misled investors in penny stocks by representing that he wasn’t trading or holding positions in the companies he was writing about while secretly trading the same stocks based on nonpublic information about the publication date of his research.  In an effort to evade detection, Napodano allegedly limited his profits from each illegal trade by taking small positions and closing the positions shortly after his reports and articles were published.

In addition to a permanent penny stock bar, Napodano agreed to pay full disgorgement of his insider trading profits totaling $143,865.48 plus interest of $17,620.87 and a penalty of $143,865.48.  The settlement is subject to court approval.

Basrai agreed to settle the charges by paying disgorgement of his insider trading profits of $39,668.37 plus interest of $4,617.89 and a penalty of $39,668.37.  Stirton agreed to settle the charges without admitting or denying the allegations by paying disgorgement of his insider trading profits totaling $2,218.87 plus interest of $257.43 and a penalty of $2,218.87.  Basrai and Stirton also agreed to be barred from trading penny stocks and from working in the securities industry, with Stirton having the right to reapply after five years.

The parallel criminal charges (one count each of stock fraud) were filed in the Northern District of Illinois (press release) against Napodano and Basrai. Stirton was not criminally charged. From the press release about the criminal charge:

JASON NAPODANO, a former Managing Director of a Chicago investment research firm, used material, non-public information he obtained while preparing equity research reports about companies to purchase and sell stock in those companies, according to a criminal information filed in federal court in Chicago. The illegal trading profits netted Napodano approximately $143,000, the information states.

In a related case, BILAL BASRAI, a former Managing Director of a Chicago investment banking firm, used material, non-public information to earn approximately $37,157 in illegal profits from the purchase and sale of stock in three companies.  Through his legal counsel, Basrai authorized the U.S. Attorney’s Office to disclose that Basrai has cooperated with the government’s investigation and intends to plead guilty to the charge contained in the information.

This case seems to signal increasing aggressiveness on the part of the SEC — while I do know that the SEC is more aggressive against insider trading than many other violations of securities laws, I cannot recall any other time that the settlement (for anything) has included a complete ban from trading penny stocks as opposed to just a bar from participating in penny stock offerings (“barred from trading in penny stocks for the rest of his life.”).

According to the Charlotte Observer, Jason Napodano is currently running a biotech newsletter called Bio5C:

According to LinkedIn, Napodano worked at Zacks from 2003 to 2015. He then came to Charlotte, where he started a company called BioNap Consulting, then Bio5C. His biography says he “has significant experience as a pharmaceutical and biotechnology stock analyst,” as well as degrees from Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.

The “code of conduct” page on the Bio5C web site includes this statement without attribution: “I have made terrible mistakes in the past when it comes to disclosure and personal trading. For these mistakes, I am truly ashamed and sorry. My mistakes, although now just public, were between 2013 and 2015. I learned a tough lesson. I’m committed to impeccable disclosure and ethics on Bio5C.”

 

Disclaimer. No position in any stocks mentioned and I have no relationship with anyone mentioned in this post. This blog has a terms of use that is incorporated by reference into this post; you can find all my disclaimers and disclosures there as well.

Environmental Packaging Technologies Holdings $EPTI to resume trading on July 13th after SEC trading suspension

Not long (13 days) after I blogged about the hard mailer promoting Environmental Packaging Technologies Holdings (EPTI) and uploaded a scan of the mailer, during premarket trading on June 28th the SEC suspended trading in the stock. It will resume trading on the grey market (no market makers) at the market open on July 13th, likely gapping down 90% or so.

SEC trading suspension release (PDF)
SEC trading suspension order (PDF)

The reason given for the trading suspension:

concerns regarding: (i) the accuracy and adequacy of publicly available information in the marketplace
since at least June 9, 2017 regarding statements in third party stock promotion materials pertaining to Environmental Packaging’s 2016 revenues, projected 2017 revenues, and the company’s buyout potential; and (ii) recent trading activity in the security that potentially reflects manipulative or deceptive activities.

While I would love to take credit for the SEC suspension of EPTI, that “The Commission acknowledges FINRA’s assistance in this matter” means that some broker(s) likely submitted SARs (suspicious activity reports) about potentially manipulative trading and that was the prime reason for the suspension.

 

Disclaimer. No position in any stocks mentioned and I have no relationship with anyone mentioned in this post. This blog has a terms of use that is incorporated by reference into this post; you can find all my disclaimers and disclosures there as well.