SEC Obtains Permanent Injunction Against CEO in Penny Stock Fraud Scheme
Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission obtained a final judgment against the former CEO of a penny stock company, whom the SEC charged with making false and misleading statements in the company’s SEC filings and press releases and with manipulating the company’s stock.
The SEC alleged that Andrew J. Kandalepas, the former CEO of Wellness Center USA, Inc., took $450,000 in unauthorized withdrawals from the company, which he disguised as salary, prepayments, or loans in annual and quarterly reports the company filed with the SEC. Kandalepas also allegedly caused Wellness to issue press releases that announced non-existent sales of medical devices.
Kandalepas also allegedly manipulated Wellness’ stock by secretly trading in a friend’s brokerage account and coordinated trades with a consultant he hired to solicit investments. The SEC charged the consultant, Matthew T. Mushlin, with acting as an unregistered broker.
The final judgment, entered on September 26, 2018 by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, permanently enjoins Kandalepas from violating the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and the broker registration provisions of Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act. The judgment also bars Kandalepas from serving as an officer or director of a public company, from participating in penny stock offerings, and orders disgorgement and interest and penalties to be determined by the court.
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