|To: jjs64 who wrote (449)||4/15/2003 6:31:21 PM|
|Wolfson Is Convicted In `Pump and Dump' Penny-Stock Scheme |
The Wall Street Journal via Dow Jones
THREE YEARS AGO, federal prosecutors capped an undercover sting operation with the arrest of 120 stockbrokers and others, in a bid to root out small-stock
This week, a federal jury in New York City convicted one of the biggestplayers in the case.
Allen Wolfson, a 57-year-old Salt Lake City penny-stock promoter, was found guilty Wednesday of one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, wire
fraud and commercial bribery, five counts of securities fraud and one count of wire fraud. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Mr. Wolfson could face as
long as 19 years in prison.
Mr. Wolfson was the mastermind of the vast "pump and dump" scheme from late 1998 through 2000, in which stockbrokers and others were bribed with commissions of as much as 65% of trading value to artificially pump up the price of six stocks, take a profit and then dump them onto other investors, according to David C. Esseks and Robert Hotz, the lead prosecutors in the case. Being paid
fees to promote a stock isn't illegal, but not disclosing it to investors is. Said Christopher Bruno, Mr. Wolfson's lawyer: "Obviously, we are disappointed
with the jury's verdict."
The case was part of the government's largest crackdown on alleged small-stock manipulation, which through an undercover sting dubbed "Operation Uptick" led to
the arrest in June 2000 of the 120 stockbrokers, as well as promoters and organized-crime members. Of those arrested, 95 people have been convicted. Mr.
Wolfson operated one of several Wall Street penny-stock operations cited in the cases. In his case, seven people were indicted; six pleaded guilty, and Mr. Wolfson was found guilty.
The Wolfson verdict underscores that even with all the scrutiny of Wall Street in recent years, weeding out recidivists isn't easy. In 1977, Mr. Wolfson
was convicted by a Florida state jury for defrauding a Florida bank; he received 10 months' probation. In 1982, a Florida state jury found Mr. Wolfson guilty of
funneling illegally large contributions to political candidates. That violated his probation, and Mr. Wolfson was sentenced to 10 years in state prison. In
1987, he was convicted of three felony counts related to overstating the value of a building used as collateral for a loan. In 1996, Mr. Wolfson was arrested in a penny-stock manipulation sting; those charges were dismissed.
But prosecutors say when he was on probation in 1996, Mr. Wolfson spoke with an undercover agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and set up his next
scheme, which ultimately led to Wednesday's conviction. Moreover, prosecutors allege that while Mr. Wolfson was out on bail following his June 2000 arrest, he
engaged in another "pump and dump" scheme involving shares of Freedom Surf Inc. In December 2002, the government indicted him on securities-fraud charges in
federal court in Manhattan; that case was put on hold until the outcome of the 2000 case.
Prior to the latest trial, prosecutors sought to have Mr. Wolfson remanded to jail, because of the 2002 charges. But his lawyers persuaded Judge John G.
Koeltl to put him under house detention. Since his conviction, Mr. Wolfson has been jailed.
In the 2000 case, Mr. Wolfson's lawyers argued that he did help the six fledgling companies by restructuring their debt and giving advice on auditing and legal services in exchange for the stock. While Mr. Bruno conceded that
Mr. Wolfson paid fees to the brokers to market the stocks, he asserted that it was the brokers' responsibility -- not Mr. Wolfson's -- to tell the customers they
were receiving these fees.
Mr. Wolfson's 2000 pump-and-dump scheme originated from his offices in Salt Lake City, where he operated several shell consulting companies, according to the indictment. Through these entities, he received stock in six nascent
companies in exchange for consulting services. In a bid to throw investigators off the trail, Mr. Wolfson added another layer between him and the brokers:He
enlisted Michael Grecco, an associate of the Colombo crime family in New York, to direct trades to market makers, who, in return for a commission, made sure
brokers bought stock from Mr. Wolfson, according to prosecutors. Mr. Grecco then had these bribes, often as much as 40%, passed to the brokers at a number of
boiler rooms in and around Manhattan.
Among those investors was Thomas V. Tofany, a 52-year-old owner of a health club in Lakeville, N.Y. Mr. Tofany testified in court that he never bought stock
before he received a call in 1999 from Thomas Cordano, a J. Banks Securities stockbroker. By March 1999, at the recommendation of the broker, Mr. Tofany said
he invested $165,000 in ATR Industries, a Palm Beach, Fla., home-cleaning company. ATR had never turned a profit, but Mr. Cordano said the company's new
plan to sell discounted beauty products over the Internet would change its fate.
"He told me that this was something that was going to be very good for me," Mr. Tofany testified.
Soon after he bought the shares, the stock plunged. At Mr. Tofany's direction, the broker began selling some of the shares, but he had difficulty selling them
all because the stock was thinly traded.
Mr. Tofany lost more than $100,000. His broker, Mr. Cordano, was paid $32,000 in commission by Mr. Wolfson, according to Mr. Tofany's testimony. Mr. Tofany
testified Mr. Cordano never told him he was being paid a 20% commission to promote the stock. In January, Mr. Grecco was sentenced to three years, 10
months in prison. Mr. Cordano couldn't be reached for comment.
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|To: jjs64 who wrote (449)||4/21/2003 6:33:23 PM|
|Shalom Weiss, a broker who claimed to represent foreign investors who were interested in the Company's securities in an offering conducted pursuant to the transaction exemption provided by Rule 903 of Regulation S, arranged both the private equity offering and the USA Distribution Agreement and conditioned his clients' investment on the Company's agreement to enter into certain contracts. Accordingly, the Company entered into a business consulting agreement with A.B. Consulting, Inc. for a period of one year at a cost of $250,000 (which by agreement was paid from the proceeds of the equity offering). Ultimately, the Company received no services from A.B. Approximately $200,000 was charged against 1998 earnings by virtue of this payment. |
Weiss also required the Company to engage Marketing Direct Concepts, a Las Vegas-based public relations firm ("MDC"). That agreement was also to be for a one-year term and called for payment of $750,000, of which $375,000 was paid upon the closing of the offering (paid from the offering's proceeds) and $375,000 was to be paid in the event Weiss' clients (the Regulation S investors) exercised warrants issued as part of the equity offering for an aggregate of $1,000,000. MDC's duties under the agreement included developing a financial public relations campaign consisting of e-mail and faxing services, maintenance of a website and providing teleconference services for brokers and securities analysts. MDC generally provided the services specified in the agreement, though not entirely to the Company's satisfaction. In January of 1998, the Company restructured the agreement with MDC as a product recognition campaign aimed at exposing the Company and its products to the general public, utilizing media sources and MDC's e-mail database, as well as to comply with the Regulation S's prohibition against directed selling efforts (as defined in the regulation). Under the restructured agreement, the Company issued MDC 25,000 shares of common stock and paid the remaining $375,000 to certain Regulation S investors introduced by Weiss upon their subsequent exercise of warrants aggregating $1,000,000 (500,000 warrants at an exercise price of $2.00 per share). The agreements described in this paragraph accounted for expense of $728,750 in 1998 (of which $68,750 related to the issuance of the 25,000 shares of common stock and $660,000 to the amortized 1998 portion of the $375,000 paid to MDC and the $375,000 paid to certain Regulation S investors introduced by Weiss.)
In connection with the February 10, 1998 purchase order from D & W Enterprises and the February 11, 1998 USA Distribution Agreement, Weiss required the Company to issue to Atom Corp., Danvers Investment Corp. and Amexcorp Limited, which the Company believes were either affiliates of or controlled by Weiss, as a finder's fee, warrants to purchase 2,000,000 shares of the Company's common stock for $5 per share (which warrants were subsequently repurchased by the Company at a price of $.25 per share in May 1999 as a part of a larger transaction that included the termination of the USA Distribution Agreement). Although the market price of the Company's common stock on February 11, 1998 was $3.91 per share, the Black-Scholes method of valuing derivative securities resulted in a charge of $1.88 million against 1998 earnings.
The Company notes that in November of 1999, after a lengthy trial in an unrelated matter, Weiss was convicted of seventy-eight counts of racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering and other crimes in connection with the looting of millions of dollars from a life insurance company. Weiss fled during the start of jury deliberations, and is considered a fugitive by the FBI. He was sentenced in absentia to 845 years in prison and ordered to pay a $123 million fine and another $125 million in restitution. Although Weiss was taken into custody in 2001, the Company believes the likelihood of a recovery is remote against Weiss for any fraud he may have perpetuated against the Company
SAF T LOK INC 10KSB/A 3/26/2001
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|To: jjs64 who wrote (449)||4/21/2003 6:36:12 PM|
StockUp is a FREE, complete on-line guide to your personal finances and
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-- End of filtered message --
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|To: jjs64 who wrote (449)||4/21/2003 6:44:38 PM|
|February 27, 1998 Saf T Lok, Inc. (Nasdaq: LOCK)|
Feb. 26, 1998 close: $3.66
by Lynn N. Duke, staff writer
This is one lock you don't want to pick.
A Florida company, which until recently was scarcely known outside its own boardroom, has received lots of publicity lately, both good and bad.
The Stock Detective's been following along, convinced it was onto the scent of another Stinky Stock in Saf T Lok, Inc. (Nasdaq: LOCK).
The good news - an announcement last fall at the White House that the country's largest gun manufacturers would voluntarily supply locking devices on all new guns by the end of 1998 - sent Saf T Lok's stock price soaring. It was trading around 30 cents the day of the announcement, hit a high of $5.75 the next day on trading of 32.2 million shares - 10 times what was in the float. It is now trading for about $4.
The bad news, for speculators at least, is that Saf T Lok's claim to fame is probably short-lived and its investors misguided. It is unlikely that gun manufacturers will choose Saf T Lok's product for inclusion at the factory. Instead they are opting for locks at a fraction of the price.
Even Saf T Lok has its doubts, as evidenced in documents recently filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission: "The Company has based its belief on the existence of a large market for tis gun locking devices on anecdotal evidence, without a broad based market study. There can be no assurances that a market will develop so as to provide sufficient revenues for the Company to make a profit."
Saf T Lok, based in South Florida, has been making gunlocks for less than two years. Before that it was a video company, with almost the same cast of officers - the same officers who started dumping stock at a frenetic pace once the White House announcement hit the Street. Chairman Frank Brooks sold 179,000 shares of stock since October, more than all of the shares he'd sold in the previous 10 months combined.
And president John Gardner dumped 200,000 shares in the two weeks following the White House announcement, although he - like Saf T Lok's other officers - still owns a large block of company stock. Those other officers sold stock in October, too: Jeffrey Brooks, secretary/treasurer, 50,000 shares; Eugene Horanoff, chairman, 47,000 shares; William Schmidt, vice president, 34,300 shares.
A spokesman for the company's PR firm said the officers had every right to cash in their shares, since many had gone without a formal salary for more than a year and figured it was time for a cash infusion.
"The company was gathering itself and they'd taken only stock as compensation," said Kurt Divich, with Las Vegas-based Marketing Direct Concepts, Saf T Lok's public relations firm.
But the company's future is tenuous because, in the big picture, there doesn't appear to be a market for its wares.
The Second Amendment and the NRA
Saf T Lok's success is predicated on two things: an explosive market for gunlocks and the market's acceptance of its product. Neither seems likely, since a surge in demand most likely would come only if gunlocks were mandated by law. Even then, Saf T Lok would be competing against products selling for a fraction of its $80 to $90 price tag.
And such legislation seems a long shot, at any level, for new guns. A bill in California that would require trigger locks with the sale of every new gun has struggled. And legislation pending before the New York City Council would require trigger locks also on new guns. Extending such laws to guns already in homes is unlikely, experts agree. But the retrofit market is where the big numbers are.
There are about 230 million guns and 70 million gun owners in the United States, according to the National Rifle Association. The NRA opposes all gunlock legislation on the grounds that it cramps the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Tapping into that market would be lucrative indeed, considering new gun sales dipped recently. Handgun sales fell 31 percent to $667.8 million in 1996 compared to 1995, according to the National Sporting Goods Association, an industry trade group. Rifle sales were down 19 percent.
In an SEC filing early last year, Saf T Lok indicated it was banking on at least part of that market for its success. Perhaps an absurd amount.
"The Company's market includes both new and previously manufactured guns (the "retrofit market"). One-time sales could exceed $3 billion if all these guns are equipped with the Company's pro- ducts. These figures exclude longarms and foreign sales, both potentially significant markets. STL's initial market is the gun owner who bought or is planning to buy a gun for home defense/ self-protection and law enforcement at all levels," the company's April 1997 10K reads in part.
Exactly how much of that market Saf T Lok needs to capture to be successful is not clear. Queries on that topic were referred to Gardner, who did not return phone calls.
"Honey, don't forget to brush your teeth and lock the gun"
Gun makers with lock programs already in place have opted for the cheaper locks, which add a few bucks to the initial price of a gun. Gun owners who want to add a lock on their own are likely to go the same route.
"For some person who has maybe just one firearm, they might consider the additional expense of the higher priced lock," said Jack Adkins, director of operations for the American Shooting Sports Council. "But lower income folks, who live in a high crime area and buy a less expensive handgun for self-protection, I doubt seriously they're going to pay $80 to $90 for the more expensive lock."
Owners of multiple handguns often lock them either in a safe or cabinet specifically designed for guns, Adkins said.
One of Saf T Lok's claims of superiority is that it can be used on a loaded gun, unlike trigger locks, which lend themselves to accidents during opening. But there are gun safes for single guns, which open with a few keystrokes. And some researchers claim the gun can still be fired with a Saf T Lok installed.
Another disadvantage of Saf T Lok's design is that it is model specific, so it can't be transferred from, say, a Smith & Wesson 45 to a Glock semiautomatic, unlike cheaper trigger locks, which are easily transferable.
And even those aren't disappearing off dealers' shelves.
"I do not get the impression that there's a huge pent-up demand for trigger locks," said Jim Wright, a professor of sociology at Tulane University in New Orleans. Wright has written extensively on gun safety issues. "And it would be a strange duck who would forego the ease and expense of a trigger lock" for a Saf T Lok.
"At $80 to $90 bucks a throw, there are not a lot of Joe Six-pack gun owners who are going to give it a second look," Wright said.
Retailers familiar with Saf-T-Lok's products give it mixed reviews. Although it has received some solid backing, others claim the lock is easily jimmied. But even those who like the technology, question whether there's a market to support Saf T Lok and its investors.
"I don't think legislation is going to be the saving grace of this company," said Mike Caruso, manager of the Palm Beach Shooting Center in Palm Beach, Fla. "I think a lot of people want to keep things the way they are right now and take their chances. And how would the government enforce it?"
Back from the brink, Saf T Lok shares its new found wealth
Saf T Lok's financial good fortune last fall couldn't have come at a better time. The company that now has a market cap of about $40 million was on the verge of being delisted from the Nasdaq SmallCap Market last fall. A hasty Reg S filing in November allowed the company to sell more than $2 million worth of stock to three offshore investors. This restored the company's asset and stockholder equity levels to the minimum required for listing.
But the potential for dilution of shares is quite high. Saf T Lok now has about 10 million shares outstanding. In October, there were 3.2 million shares in the float. The company's investor relations officer was unable this week to provide current information. The number of shares outstanding is almost twice the 5.6 million shares that were outstanding a year ago. If outstanding warrants and options are exercised, the number of shares outstanding would increase by 7.4 million, or 74 percent, according to documents filed with the SEC.
Where Saf T Lok committed the proceeds of the Reg S was curious. Instead of pumping the funds into R&D or manufacturing, it agreed to pay $1 million - or one-third of the proceeds - to "consultants." According to documents filed with SEC, Saf T Lok will pay A.B. & Associates, Inc., management consulting firm, $250,000 and Marketing Direct Concepts, Divich's employer, $375,000. Marketing Direct Concepts will receive an additional $375,000 if at least $1.5 million in stock warrants are exercised, the document said. A third firm, State Street Securities, which handled the Reg S, is also getting a chunk of the proceeds. State Street Securities is no relation to the prominent Boston-based State Street Corp. In addition to $60,000 in legal fees, State Street Securities received $337,500, or 13.5 percent of the sales price of the common stock. And the company will "receive a 13.5 percent fee of the sales price of the stock underlying the warrants if the warrants are exercised," according to an 8K filed with the SEC last November.
This from a company which for the first nine months of 1997 reported $17,321 in sales and losses totaling $733,800.
It is not clear what relationship there is between State Street Securities and Marketing Direct Concepts. Like questions about the company's target market share, they were referred to Gardner.
There are other figures that don't add up as well. For example, although their product retails for almost 10 times the competition, Saf T Lok is predicting a 67 percent gross margin. Wouldn't it be more prudent for a fledgling organization to shave its margins, cut its prices and maybe capture more of the market?
Saf T Lok recently announced an agreement with United Safety Action, a New York distribution company. United Safety has committed to buying $20 million worth of Saf T Lok products in the next two years, but there's no evidence of a penalty if United does not fulfill that order.
United has also signed on for a $5 million ad campaign in a "variety of national media" that they hope will make Saf T Lok a "household name." Five million dollars? For a company with no brand recognition or track record? Consider this: In 1996, the last year for which figures are available, the biggest advertising machine in the U.S. was Coca-Cola, which probably has brand recognition on Mars. That company spent $131 million to get its message out, according to Advertising Age. And that was just for its classic cola. Add in other soft drinks, and that figure almost doubles.
Frank Brooks, the man who invented Saf T Lok, may have done so with good intentions. But the company's current tack of glowing predictions and inflated stock prices miss the mark and could lock investors into a losing game.
-The Stock Detective
Also see: Stock Detective Roundup for periodic updates to this and other Stinky Stock features.
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|To: Edward Williamson who wrote (387)||4/28/2003 7:00:47 PM|
|Penalties increased for securities fraud in Kansas|
Tougher penalties for securities fraud of $25,000 or more will soon take effect in Kansas.
The Kansas Legislature approved Senate Bill 110 and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has signed it.
The bill will increase penalties to three severity levels, which are based on the amount of loss.
Under current law, a defendant who defrauds investors out of $1 million is treated the same as a defendant who defrauds someone of $25,000. All securities fraud sentences were for 17 to 19 months.
Under the new law, the sentencing range for defendants with no prior convictions for $100,000 or more is 38 to 43 months, for amounts between $25,000 and $100,000 is 31 to 34 months and amounts less than $25,000 is 11 to 13 months.
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|To: Edward Williamson who wrote (387)||4/13/2004 10:31:04 PM|
|HEY ED, WHAT UP WITH SKUP?-> December 10, 2003 Re: Securities and Exchange Commission v. Net World Marketing, Inc., et al. (Civ. No. 00-1459WEB, D. Kan.) Dear : I am the court appointed Receiver in the above-referenced legal action commenced by the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") in the U.S. District Court of Kansas. This action alleges that Edward B. Williamson operated a fraudulent scheme through the sale of securities of Net World Marketing, Inc. ("Net World") and other Receivership defendants. As Receiver, I have been charged with collecting and taking possession of the assets of the Receivership defendants. I have now received court approval to proceed with a Plan of Distribution of Receivership assets ("Plan"). Based on my review of all assets which came into my possession, it appears most of these assets can be traced to Net World offering proceeds. The Plan proposes to distribute all Receivership assets remaining after payment of Receivership expenses, to the investors in Net World pro-rata based on the amount of investment. The records of Net World, which I have reviewed, indicate that you may be an investor eligible for this distribution. To be eligible to receive a distribution under the Plan, an investor must complete the attached "Claim for Payment" form in its entirety. The form must be verified under oath before a Notary Public, and sent postage prepaid postmarked no later than January 14, 2004, and addressed to: Morris, Laing, Evans, Brock & Kennedy, Chtd. Attn: Tamy St. John Old Town Square 300 North Mead Wichita, Kansas 67202-2722 Old Town Square ! 300 N. Mead, Suite 200 ! Wichita, KS 67202-2722 T: 316.262.2671 ! F: 316.262.6226 ! www.morrislaing.com Topeka Office Located in USBank Building|
Law Offices of Morris LaingInvestor Letter December 10, 2003 Page 2What is the status of the case? The action remains pending before the U.S. District Court in Kansas. I have collected all known assets of the defendants and paid Receivership expenses after approval by the Court. There will be some additional expenses. Assets remaining after payment of all expenses will be distributed to investors pursuant to the Plan. The Court file in this matter is a public record which can be reviewed at the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. District Court at 401 N. Market Street, Wichita, Kansas 67202. Who is eligible for a payment? The Plan proposes to divide assets available after expenses to all Net World investors who are eligible claimants, pro-rata based on the amount of that investment. Only those who invested money in Net World are eligible. What must I do to claim my money? You must complete the attached "Claim for Payment Form" and verify the claim under oath before a Notary Public, and send the claim by U.S. mail, postage prepaid and postmarked on or before January 14, 2004, to the above-referenced address. How do I get more information on the Plan or claims process? You may contact my office as outlined at the end of this letter, or access the SEC Investor Claims Fund website. To access the SEC website go to www.sec.gov; under the "Investor Information" menu click on "more;" next click on "Investors Claims Funds;" and finally click on Net World Marketing, Inc. May I have an attorney assist me in filing the claim? As Receiver I cannot represent the interests of any individual investor. You may seek the assistance of a personal attorney, although this is not necessary or required to make a claim.
Law Offices of Morris LaingInvestor Letter December 10, 2003 Page 3How much am I going to get if I file a claim? This will depend on how many claims are filed and the assets remaining after expenses of the Receivership and distribution. I currently have cash on hand of approximately $109,149.97, and have current unpaid expenses of approximately $4,810.21. Additional expenses will be incurred in making the distribution and preparing a final accounting and request for discharge from the Court. The records I have indicate that there may be approximately 600 investors in Net World who invested approximately $1 million. I expect that the ultimate distribution will be small and approximate $.08 to $.09 per dollar invested. However, this is just an estimate. The expected date of the distribution is sixty (60) days to ninety (90) days after the deadline for filing a claim. What if I invested in other Receivership defendants or companies controlled and promoted by Edward Williamson? Under the Plan you will only be eligible for a payment based on your investment in Net World. How do I challenge the planned distribution? You may object to the Plan by filing a written objection or motion with the Court on or before the deadline for submitting a claim. If you choose to do this you may want to retain the services of an attorney and you may be required to appear in Court. If you have additional questions you may contact Tamy St. John at (316) 262-2671. Very truly yours, Roger N. Walter RNW:ajg Enclosure
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|To: jjs64 who wrote (449)||4/23/2004 1:23:49 PM|
|I DONT KNOW IF YOU SAW THIS BUT ORIGINALLY ED WAS GOING TO SAVE THE WORLD FROM CANCER|
CANCER DIAGNOSTICS INC Source Document(s)
CANCER DIAGNOSTICS, INC Source Document(s)
CEA LAB, INC Source Document(s)
COURTLEIGH CAPITAL, INC Source Document(s)
SCIENTIFIC LABORATORIES, INC Source Document(s)
STOCKUP.COM, INC Source Document(s)
CANCER DIAGNOSTICS, INC. October 09, 2002
***THIS DATA IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY***
Copyright 2004 Dun & Bradstreet, Inc.
Federal Employer Identification Numbers
CANCER DIAGNOSTICS, INC.
400 N WOODLAWN ST STE 18
WICHITA, KS 67208
October 09, 2002
LENGTH: 33 words
DUNS NUMBER: 02-013-7548
DUNS COMPANY NAME: CANCER DIAGNOSTICS INC
DUNS SOURCE: KANSAS BUSINESS REGISTRATIONS - KANSAS
LOAD-DATE: February 13, 2004
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|From: StockDung||1/3/2006 11:43:27 PM|
|Courtleigh Capital, Inc. (OTC-CTLH) This company was previously known as CEA LAB, Inc., parent company to Gourmet's Choice Coffee Co., Andros Island Hotel & Casino, Fifth Avenue Publishing, and Net World Marketing. Courtleigh Capital shareholders met yesterday at a special meeting. At the meeting the shareholders approved a reverse merger with Internet information provider Marketing Direct Concepts, Inc. ("MDC") of Las Vegas, Nevada. The Company will effect a one-for-thirteen (1-for-13) reverse stock split and then issue 4,500,000 new restricted shares to acquire all of the assets of MDC. At the meeting Michael Calderone, MDC president, was appointed president of Courtleigh Capital. The Company's shareholders approved a name change, to be made soon to, "Stockup.com", which, incidentally, is the Internet address for MDC. |
For information on any of these companies, please call us at 800-992-6616 or visit our Internet site at: web.archive.org (now with bulletin boards for each company) or e-mail requests to us at: email@example.com
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|To: Edward Williamson who wrote (387)||7/23/2006 5:23:25 PM|
|Federal prosecutors say Wichitan used Web to bamboozle investors|
Wichita Business Journal - November 1, 2002by Ken Arnold
Print this Article Email this Article Reprints RSS Feeds Most Viewed Most Emailed
A Wichita man is accused of using the Internet to fraudulently pump up the value of penny stocks.
On Oct. 23, the U.S. Attorney's office in Wichita announced a grand jury indictment alleging that Edward B. Williamson III, a Wichita native and former owner of Fifth Avenue Communications Inc., committed wire fraud using the Internet.
The criminal indictment alleges that Williamson conspired to sell penny stocks in low capitalized companies, including a company called AutoAuction.com, by placing false information about the companies on the Fifth Avenue Web site. The indictment further claims that Williamson also was the president of AutoAuction.com.
Williamson could not be reached for comment. He is scheduled to be arraigned in U.S. District Court Nov. 13. Bond is set at $50,000, according to the indictment. If convicted, Williamson faces a maximum of five years in federal prison without parole.
'Pump and Dump'
The indictment alleges that from May 1999 through August 2000, Williamson promoted the sale of stocks in AutoAuction.com, a company that purportedly operated car auctions through an Internet Web site and other locations, on the Fifth Avenue Web site. The indictment also claims that Williamson executed a scheme to defraud potential buyers by posting false information on the Fifth Avenue site that AutoAuction .com was selling 1,000 cars per month.
Kena Rice, spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office, declined to comment on the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Barnett, who will prosecute the case, also declined requests to comment.
This is not the first time Williamson has been investigated by federal authorities.
According to court documents in a civil lawsuit filed against Williamson Nov. 8, 2000 by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Williamson sold $1.3 million of unregistered securities to more than 1,000 investors nationwide through a scheme involving Fifth Avenue and other companies Williamson owned or had a controlling interest in. Those companies included Net World Marketing Inc., which claimed to be an Internet shopping mall that was run by Williamson's wife, Georganna, and that shared offices with Fifth Avenue at 400 N. Woodlawn, and AutoAuction.com.
The lawsuit contended that Williamson made false claims about those companies through news releases and postings on the Fifth Avenue Web site to inflate the sale price of their stock and profited from selling his shares in the companies.
"The SEC refers to that as 'Pump and Dump,'" says Jeffrey Carmichael of Morris Laing Evans Brock & Kennedy who represented the SEC in the lawsuit. "We found there were no assets to the companies."
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