Archive for the ‘Washington’ Category

International Pump and Dump

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

The SEC has charged GHL Technologies, Inc. of Bremerton, Washington, and its CEO, Gene Hew-Len with issuing false press releases designed to raise the price of GHL stock.  The Commission has also charged Francisco Abellan (known as “Frank Abel”) of Barcelona, Spain with coordinating the scheme.  The SEC claims that Abel sent glossy promotional mailers to more than 2 million Americans and sold more than $13 million in GHL stock to unsuspecting investors who bought GHL on the strength of the false press releases and the glossy brochures.  The SEC release states: (more…)

Fugitive Con Man

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Melissa Underwood of FOX News has written a terrific story about one of America’s Most Wanted criminals - Leonard Ramey.   As you read it, remember that Ramey is not alone; he is one of thousands of financial criminals preying on America’s senior citizens and baby boomers today.  Like Ramey, they are willing to drop all contacts and start a scam in a new town if their victims become too suspicious or law enforcement gets too close.  They are preternaturally good at establishing trust.  Without SEC-trained help, whether you fall victim to one of them is more in their hands than yours.  As bright as you are, as suspicious as you are, as experienced in investing as you are, as good a judge of character as you think you are, if they want to take your money, they will - unless you seek the opinion of someone whose job has been recognizing these scam artists and bringing them to justice.   

After you read Underwood’s story, remember that none of Ramey’s victims was especially gullible or trusting.  They were just like you.  Unless you seek the professional help that they did not, the fate of your life savings will be the same.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Insurance Agent

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

There’s always a big house and nice car.  Ponzi scheme operators can’t help buying them.  Even so, Michael Duane Smith (Smith) may hold the record for extravagance among Ponzi operators.  He bought not just a house, but a $6.5 million castle in Colorado.  He bought not just a nice car, but a stable of eight high-performance NASCAR racing cars.  Smith now faces 15 years in prison in connection with a Ponzi scheme that collected more than $50 million from 1,000 investors, many of them elderly retirees, nationwide.  (more…)

SEC Deflates Pump and Dump

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged Robert J. Pratt (Pratt) of Lyndon, Washington, and Jeffrey A. Brommer (Brommer) of Jamestown, North Carolina and Pratt’s company, Strategic Management & Opportunity Corporation (SMPP), with a pump and dump scheme using SMPP stock. (more…)

They Can Run, But They Can’t Hide

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

They can run, but they can’t hide.  Unfortunately, they can spend all your money while they are on the run. 

According to federal authorities, Charles Nolon Bush, 68, of western Washington, ran a Ponzi scheme for four years, between 1998 and 2002, promising investors high yields and giving them the illusion of profits by using money invested by later marks to make payments to earlier marks.   Bush operated under several company names, including Hulaman Management Services, Global Dominion Financial Services, and Cornerstone Institute. (more…)

Seattle-area Case a Classic “Pump and Dump”

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

Washington’s Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) has charged eight defendants with a “pump and dump” securities fraud scheme.  According to the DFI, the defendants acquired small publicly traded companies, then “pumped” up the stock of each by blast faxing false press releases touting positive developments at the companies, and by buying shares of the companies in brokerage accounts held in the names of others (”nominee accounts” or “ratholes” in industry slang).  The companies involved were America Asia Energy Corporation, Coattec Industries, Inc., Detex Security Systems, Inc., and Global Gaming Network, Inc., all incorporated in Washington. (more…)