SEC Files Subpoena Enforcement in Possible MicroCap Market Manipulation Scheme
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a subpoena enforcement action against three penny-stock companies and their CEO – Cherubim Interests, Inc. (CHIT), PDX Partners, Inc. (PDXP), Victura Construction Group, Inc. (VICT), and Patrick Jevon Johnson – seeking an order directing them to comply with investigative subpoenas for documents.
According to the SEC’s application, filed on December 21, 2018 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the SEC is investigating whether certain individuals or entities engaged in a potential pump-and-dump scheme in the stock of CHIT, PDXP, and VICT. Because the SEC was concerned about the accuracy of the companies’ disclosures, the SEC suspended trading in their securities on February 15, 2018 for ten business days. Based on its ongoing investigation, the SEC has reason to believe that each company issued false public statements in January 2018 to “pump” their stock price, claiming that it had acquired hundreds of millions of dollars of “AAA-rated” assets, even though each company appeared to have little to no assets. After the stock price and trading volume for each company increased as a result of the news, an entity associated with the companies may have “dumped” their overvalued shares for significant profits.
In May 2018, the SEC issued subpoenas to CHIT, PDXP, VICT, and Johnson for the production of documents. According to the SEC’s application, the companies and Johnson produced a limited number of documents. All of them refused to produce key documents responsive to the subpoena about matters relevant to their participation in the conduct being investigated.
The SEC’s application seeks an order from the court compelling CHIT, PDXP, VICT, and Johnson to fully comply with the SEC’s subpoenas. The SEC previously filed subpoena enforcement actions in October and December 2018 against other parties in this matter. The SEC is continuing its fact-finding investigation in this matter and has not concluded that anyone has violated the securities laws.
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