SEC Charges Canadian Stock Promoter With MicroCap Market Manipulation
Last Friday, the SEC announced fraud charges against a Canadian man behind an alleged scheme to manipulate the shares of a penny stock.
The SEC’s complaint alleges that Micheal A. Skerry, of New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada, illegally profited by manipulating the price and demand of Success Holding Group International, Inc. (OTC: SHGT), a penny stock whose securities were quoted on OTC Link, through a practice known as “scalping.”
The SEC alleges that he entered into agreements with Success Holdings to provide investor relations services and to purchase shares of Success Holdings stock at a discount. Skerry allegedly paid $36,000 to Success Holding in exchange for 360,000 shares of Success Holding stock and immediately began taking steps to generate interest in the company through a fraudulent campaign to drive up public demand for Success Holding stock. Among other things, the SEC’s complaint alleges that Skerry posted misleading messages on public websites and sent blast emails to potential investors urging them to buy Success Holding stock without telling them that he owned the stock and intended to sell it at the earliest opportunity. The SEC alleges that Skerry sold all his shares of Success Holding stock to the public for a profit of over $950,000. Skerry’s sales allegedly made up more than 60% of the trading volume during the period, including 100% of the trading volume on certain days.
The SEC’s complaint charges Skerry with violating Sections 5 and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The SEC seeks a permanent injunction, a penny stock bar, disgorgement, pre- and post-judgment interest, and a civil penalty.
The SEC also charged Success Holding with selling shares of its stock in an unregistered transaction to Skerry while knowing that he planned to immediately resell the shares to the public, and with failing to file Forms 10-Q or Forms 10-K for any periods since the period ended June 30, 2015. The SEC’s order finds that Success Holding violated Section 5 of the Securities Act, Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act and Rules 13a-1 and 13a-13 thereunder. Without admitting or denying the findings in the SEC’s order, Success Holding agreed to a cease-and-desist order and to pay disgorgement of $36,000, prejudgment interest of $3,737 and civil penalties of $100,000, for a total of $139,737 in four installments. Success Holding also agreed to bring its filings with the SEC current. The SEC also instituted administrative proceedings under Section 12(j) of the Exchange Act to revoke Success Holding’s registration in the event that Success Holding fails to bring its filings current. The SEC’s order stays the revocation proceedings to provide Success Holding time to comply.
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