|To: mmmary who wrote (4415)||7/15/2002 12:25:13 PM|
|THOMSON KERNAGHAN & CO. LTD.– TIME TO GIDDY-UP AND GO|
“Giddy-up. Let’s get going,” is how former Thomson Kernaghan Chairman Mark Valentine used to exhort his trading team. Now Valentine is gone, banished by the brokerage firm on June 13th, and later suspended by Canada’s Ontario Securities Commission (OTC). See Not Exactly Valentine’s Day and On the Mark.
Thomson Kernaghan & Co. Ltd. isn’t far behind. The brokerage firm that helped finance Infotopia, Inc. (Pink Sheets: IFTA), Joshua Tree Construction, Inc. (OTCBB: JTRE) and a lengthy list of other over-the-counter companies, was suspended by the Investment Dealers Association of Canada (IDA) on July 11th and placed under bankruptcy protection one day later.
The IDA suspended Thomson Kernaghan after discovering that the firm, which had run out of capital, no longer had sufficient cash “to ensure that securities transactions could be completed promptly and effectively.” Spurred on by this discovery, on July 12th the Canadian Investor Protection Fund obtained an order from the Ontario Superior Court appointing Ernst & Young as trustee in bankruptcy for Thomson Kernaghan.
These latest events began to unfold as Thomson Kernaghan was winding down operations and transferring customer accounts to other firms. The firm’s demise followed charges by the OTC that Valentine had created “a culture of conflict and non-compliance” at the brokerage through a series of complicated investments.
Valentine, whose questionable activities allegedly included his involvement in so-called “death spiral” financing for struggling companies, was initially suspended from trading securities on June 18th. That suspension now has been extended until January 31, 2003. Until then, he is barred from trading any securities, except for stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange that he trades for his own account. That means he can’t dabble in NASDAQ and Over-The-Counter stocks, which have been the focus of his questionable activities. (7/15/2002)
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|To: StockDung who wrote (4416)||7/15/2002 12:43:36 PM|
|Valentine and ASTN|
He was a director of uttc a division of ashton
He was in charge of ATG Canada
He supplied the death spiral financing to ashton which killed the stock price
His funds were invested in Ashton. They pulled out right before he initiated the death spiral. Calp II, TK Holdings, and I think Sovereign and Dominican.
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|To: Capitalizer who started this subject||7/30/2002 12:47:14 PM|
|The money's in the math|
OptiMark teams with Ashton in new strategy
Peter Key Staff Writer
Ashton Technology Group Inc. has big dreams of making big money by offering cheap, anonymous trades for institutional stock investors.
Ashton can do so, it says, thanks to a mathematical formula it now owns as part of a cash and intellectual property investment totaling about $30 million.
The investment was made by OptiMark Innovations Inc., a partially owned subsidiary of Jersey City, N.J.-based OptiMark Holdings Inc.
Both Ashton and OptiMark once had their own big dreams.
Ashton invested in Internet-based technology for the financial industry in the hope that some of the technology would prove, if not revolutionary, highly lucrative.
OptiMark, for its part, developed an electronic trading system that it hoped would displace the specialists on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Neither company realized its aspirations and both wound up in need of a turnaround, in OptiMark's case even though it received $340 million in venture capital.
OptiMark Holdings Inc., through OptiMark Inc. and that company's OptiMark Innovations subsidiary, now develops and sells technology used in exchanges. It also invests in businesses and forms partnerships that do so.
Ashton is now using an algorithm it got from OptiMark to perform trades for institutional investors that want to trade anonymously at the best price they can get on a given day. That's often something known in the industry as the VWAP, which stands for volume-weighted average price.
To calculate a stock's VWAP for a day, you first calculate the worth of all trades in the stock on that day, which consists of all the prices at which the stock traded multiplied by the number of shares traded at each price. You then divide that number by the total shares of the stock that traded during the day.
The result is considered to be a yardstick against which all trades of a stock on a given day can be measured. Sellers do well when they get a higher price than the VWAP; buyers do well when they get a lower price than the VWAP.
Beating the VWAP, however, is tough. Around 80 percent of institutional trading fails to do it, according to Elkins/McSherry LLC, a provider of trading-cost consulting services. That's why Ashton thinks it can make money by guaranteeing institutional investors the VWAP value for their trades.
From June through Sept. 11 last year, Ashton was performing VWAP trades for institutional investors through an arrangement with the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. But although its business grew over that time, it lacked the money and technology to become a big VWAP trader.
"We actually had to turn away customers because we weren't capitalized strongly enough," said Fred Weingard, Ashton's chief technology officer.
Ashton had other problems, too. The number of stocks in which it could trade was relatively small. And it tried to give customers the VWAP price by having traders place orders throughout the day. As a result, when its business tumbled after Sept. 11, Ashton couldn't recoup.
Now, in addition to cash and technology, the deal with OptiMark has brought Ashton a largely new management team. Weingard is a holdover, but acting Chief Executive Officer Robert Warshaw, Chief Operating Officer Trevor Price and Chief Financial Officer James Pak all helped turn around OptiMark.
Former Ashton CEO Fredric W. Rittereiser was bought out of his employment agreement for $150,000 in cash over a year and 4 million shares of Ashton stock.
The deal left OptiMark holding 80 percent of Ashton's stock, which now goes for around 25 cents per share. In addition to the intellectual property, OptiMark provided Ashton with $10 million in cash, around $7.3 million of which was an equity investment and the rest of which was a loan.
Ashton faces some well-known competition in the VWAP trading market, including Bloomberg Tradebook LLC, Investment Technology Group Inc. and Hull Trading Co., which is owned by The Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
But Warshaw thinks the technology and money that Ashton obtained from OptiMark will enable the company to succeed as a provider of VWAP trading services for the following reasons:
The trades it needs to make the VWAP now are calculated and executed by computers, not people, as was the case;
the trades are executed in small volumes throughout the day, so market watchers can't see whether a large block of stock is changing hands and don't know if its customers are buying, selling or holding;
the number of stocks in which it can offer VWAP trades has increased to include the S&P 500, the Russell 1000 and the Nasdaq 100;
it can take orders in half-hour increments from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., instead of just at 9:30 a.m, and;
it now can make money by charging 2.25 cents per traded share, down from 3 to 5 cents.
Warshaw also thinks OptiMark and Ashton are a good fit.
"Both companies," he said, "were technology companies who were looking for a market for their technology."
Now, he said, they have a market and they think they can use their technology to succeed in it.
Peter Key can be reached at email@example.com.
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|To: Capitalizer who started this subject||8/15/2002 6:35:59 PM|
|Talking about Valentine here. Remember he had ASTN buy shares in jagfn then they got jnot shares then...|
15. U.S. v. Paul D. Lemmon and Mark Valentine, Case No.
On May 14, 2002, a federal grand jury returned an Indictment charging Paul D. Lemmon and Mark Valentine with one count of wire, mail and securities fraud conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, and two counts of securities fraud, in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 78j(b) and 17 C.F.R. § 240.10b-5. Lemmon was the founder and Managing Director of Voyager Group, Ltd., a financial services company based in Bermuda. Valentine was the Chairman of Thomson Kernaghan & Co., a securities broker-dealer based in Toronto, Canada. Valentine is also alleged to have owned and controlled a majority of the stock of C-Me-Run, Inc. ("CMER"), SoftQuad Software Ltd. ("SXML"), and JagNotes.com, Inc. ("JNOT"), three companies the stock of which was publicly traded on the over-the-counter market. The Indictment charges that Lemmon and Valentine conspired to sell CMER, SXML and JNOT stock to the Fund for a total of $29.4 million in return for their payment of an undisclosed kickback of $7.8 million to the FBI UCA and others. In addition, the Indictment charges that Lemon and Valentine were to cause securities brokers to receive undisclosed kickbacks in return for their helping to manipulate the market prices of CMER, SXML and JNOT stock by selling the stock to their unsuspecting clients. If convicted, the maximum, statutory term of imprisonment is 5 years for conspiracy to commit wire/mail/securities fraud, wire fraud, and mail fraud, respectively, and 10 years for securities fraud.
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|To: mmmary who wrote (4419)||8/19/2002 3:48:45 PM|
|MARK VALENTINE: GO DIRECTLY TO JAIL|
The long-arm of the FBI has reached out and grabbed Mark Valentine. Valentine was arrested at the Frankfurt, Germany airport on August 14th; the result of a two-year investigation by U.S. and Canadian law enforcement agencies.
The arrest marks the latest dark chapter for Valentine, whose securities license recently was suspended by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC). The OSC is examining Valentine’s conduct while serving as Chairman of Canadian brokerage house, See Thomson Kernaghan & Co. Ltd.– Not Exactly Valentine’s Day; and Thomson Kernaghan & Co. Ltd. – Time To Giddy Up and Go.
Stock Patrol started asking questions about those activities in January 2001, when we first noticed that Valentine’s firm, Thomson Kernaghan, had been receiving millions upon millions of shares of Infotopia, Inc. at a deep discount. Those shares were quickly registered, putting Thomson Kernaghan in a position to dump them while Infotopia was projecting profits that were largely illusory, and acquisitions that never came to pass. See Infotopia – Bye Bye Shares.
Now Valentine is facing the possibility of a lengthy jail term as was one of 58 defendants charged in the FBI’s sting operation - dubbed “Bermuda Short.” Other named defendants included stockbrokers, promoters and public companies.
Prosecutors say that the “corporate terrorists” participated in fraudulent schemes – set up by the FBI - involving the sale of $200 million in securities of twenty three publicly traded companies. According to the United States Attorneys Office, no members of the public lost money because the schemes were carefully controlled by the government.
The charges stemmed from two separate, but related, operations. In the first, an FBI agent posed as a trader for a fictitious foreign mutual fund. Using that guise he enticed corporate executives and stockbrokers to sell him large blocks of stock at above-market prices, resulting in huge profits for the sellers. In return, the sellers agreed to pay secret kickbacks to the agent.
In a second scheme, an FBI agent and a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police posed as members of a Columbian drug cartel who wanted to launder drug money. They convinced several of the defendants to launder a total of $1.4 million.
The charges against Valentine, and others (including Paul Lemon and Andrew Proctor, directors of Voyager Group, Inc, a Bermuda-based financial services firm) involved a scheme to dump shares of three OTC Bulletin Board companies that Valentine allegedly controlled: C-Me-Run Inc., SoftQuad Software Ltd. and JagNotes.
Authorities say that Valentine and Lemon conspired to sell $29.4 million worth of stock in those three companies through the FBI’s phony mutual fund trader, agreeing to pay kickbacks of $7.8 million to the trader, and his colleagues.
Infotopia investors already are familiar with JagNotes. Valentine and Thomson Kernaghan managed to steer funds toward JagNotes by arranging for Infotopia to purchase “airtime” for its infomercials on that Company’s marginally existent financial news network.
According to the criminal complaint, Valentine and other defendants also persuaded stockbrokers to manipulate stock prices by convincing their customers to buy securities. Those stockbrokers were promised kickbacks in return for their efforts.
U.S. officials intend to move forward with efforts to extradite Valentine. This time his trip is not likely to end at the Frankfurt airport. (8/19/2002)
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|To: Capitalizer who started this subject||9/18/2002 1:32:25 PM|
|10 to 1 TO 30 to 1 stock split approved, WOW|
The stockholders also approved Ashton's 2002 Stock Option Plan and authorized Ashton's board to consider and implement a reverse split of Ashton's common stock in a conversion ratio of 10-for-1 or 30-for-1, or in any ratio between.
PR out today
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|To: Capitalizer who started this subject||9/27/2002 5:22:59 PM|
|Ashton Technology Group Announces Key Accomplishments: Surpasses Operating Plan Expectations |
PHILADELPHIA, Sep 12, 2002 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The Ashton Technology Group, Inc. (OTCBB:ASTN) today announced significant business developments since the company's finalization of its new business model last May.
"We are executing successfully against our business plan. The plan projects operating on a break-even basis in the second quarter of the company's fiscal year 2003 and our progress to date is encouraging," said Robert Warshaw, Ashton's acting CEO. "Since the strategic investment was completed on May 7, 2002, we have maintained the average revenue per share and average cost of trading built into our business plan and we are excited to announce that we are ahead of plan in revenue-related areas including, but not limited to, total volume and average monthly volume traded."
Warshaw added that Ashton has outpaced its business plan in other key areas, including sales, trading profitability, product enhancements, branding and technology.
Since May 7, 2002, Ashton's subsidiary, Croix Securities, has surpassed monthly volume projections in four consecutive months. Average order size, average monthly orders per customer, number of trading days and number of new accounts traded have all increased month over month. Since May 7, 2002, every trade accepted and executed by Croix Securities has been profitable--meaning commissions received have been greater than the combination of execution costs, clearing and settlement costs and fees paid to Ashton's liquidity providers.
In terms of branding, Ashton is ahead of schedule for the launch of its new identity, which will encompass all communications for both the parent company and its broker/dealer subsidiaries.
Also completed ahead of schedule was the successful integration and launch of the company's technology and trading algorithms--optimizing the allocation of orders to Ashton's liquidity sources and executing proprietary trades electronically.
Ashton has taken, and continues to take, a broad set of steps to reduce the operating expenses of the company. This has included employee reduction, substantive pay-cuts (averaging 10% at all levels of the company) and a restructuring of sales force compensation to be largely driven by trading volumes. The company continues to work with the Philadelphia Stock Exchange to determine the long-term viability of the eVWAP facility, which Ashton expects to resolve in the fourth quarter of 2002.
Finally, Ashton reaffirmed its plan to announce the hiring of a permanent CEO in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2002. "We are confident that we will identify and hire an executive who brings substantial customer relationships, proven broker-dealer experience and a vision of how technology will continue to revolutionize trade execution," added Trevor Price, President and COO of The Ashton Technology Group.
The Ashton Technology Group, Inc. is headquartered in Philadelphia with offices in New York and Chicago. Ashton and its subsidiaries provide electronic trading solutions to institutional investors and broker-dealers that reduce market impact and lower transaction costs, resulting in superior trading execution. Ashton trades under the symbol ASTN.OB.
CONTACT: Ashton Technology Group, Inc., Philadelphia Media Relations Paul Shapiro, 215/789-3320 firstname.lastname@example.org or Ashton Technology Group, Inc. Investor Relations Julian Willis, 215/789-3317 email@example.com
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|To: Capitalizer who started this subject||9/27/2002 5:23:58 PM|
|Ashton Technology Group Elects New Board of Directors |
PHILADELPHIA, Sep 18, 2002 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Ashton Technology Group, Inc. (OTCBB:ASTN), elected Carmine F. Adimando and William A. Lupien as new directors of the board and seven others were re-elected during the company's annual shareholders meeting.
The two new directors are:
Carmine F. Adimando is the chairman and president of CARMCO Investments and also a principal with Redstone Capital Partners. Previously, Adimando held various executive positions with Pitney Bowes Inc. from 1979 through 1996, including vice president of finance, treasurer, chief financial officer and president of Pitney Bowes International Holdings, Inc.
William A. Lupien is currently chairman of OptiMark Holdings, Inc. Previously, he served as a specialist on the equity-trading floor of the Pacific Exchange for 17 years. From 1983 to 1988, Lupien served as president, then chairman and chief executive officer, of Instinet Corporation.
The other directors who were re-elected include:
Donald E. Nickelson, vice-chairman and director of Harbour Group Industries Inc; Robert J. Warshaw, Ashton's acting chief executive officer; James R. Boris, chairman of JB Capital Management, LLC; Ronald D. Fisher, vice chairman of SOFTBANK Holdings Inc; Jonathan F. Foster, managing director at The Cypress Group; Roy S. Neff, chief executive officer of BarterSecurities, Inc.; and Fred S. Weingard, vice president and chief technology officer of Ashton.
The stockholders also approved Ashton's 2002 Stock Option Plan and authorized Ashton's board to consider and implement a reverse split of Ashton's common stock in a conversion ratio of 10-for-1 or 30-for-1, or in any ratio between. The latter board action, if taken, must be made by October 30, 2002.
The Ashton Technology Group, Inc. is headquartered in Philadelphia with offices in New York and Chicago. Ashton and its subsidiaries provide electronic trading solutions to institutional investors and broker-dealers that reduce market impact and lower transaction costs, resulting in superior trade execution. Ashton trades under the symbol ASTN.OB.
CONTACT: Ashton Technology Group, Inc., Philadelphia Media Relations: Paul Shapiro, 215/789-3320 firstname.lastname@example.org or Investor Relations: Julian Willis, 215/789-3317 email@example.com
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