An irreverent Wall Street Blog
by Bill Singer
 
Join BrokeAndBroker blog on Facebook  Follow the BrokeAndBroker blog on Twitter  Connect with BrokeAndBroker on LinkedIn  Join Bill Singer on Google+  Subscribe to RSS Feed

SEC Says That All That Glittered In Guyana Mining Deal Wasn't Gold
Written: December 12, 2011

With all the jitters in the world’s financial markets, precious metals became a very popular investment or, some would say, refuge. Worried investors bought physical bars; ETFs such as GLD, GDX. or SLV; or shares in any number of metal plays such as Goldcorp, Barrick Gold, Newmont Mining, or Silver Wheaton. On the other hand, if you generate enough of a crowd mentality in any particular investment, you’re also going to increase the likelihood of scamsters and con artists flocking to the scene. According to an ongoing case, federal regulators seem to think that’s exactly what happened.

In a Complaint filed on September 18, 2011, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) alleged that four defendants had engaged in a market manipulation fraud involving shares of Guyana Gold Corp. (“GYGC”). Securities and Exchange Commission v. Glenn Grossman, Lawrence Steven Cohen, David Schmidt, and John Zanic, (08 Civ. 8078 (DC) (S.D.N.Y.).

NOTE: A Complaint contains allegations and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

GYGC: All That Glitters?

GYGC, Nevada corporation, began trading publicly on February 7, 2008, and is quoted on the Pink Sheets. GYGC’s securities are not registered with the SEC.

GYGC purports to be a development stage company involved in the exploration for gold and minerals. According to an issuer information and disclosure statement that GYGC filed on April 18, 2008, with Pink Sheets, GYGC conducted no operations during the fiscal years ended December 31, 2007, and December 3 1, 2006, and has never generated revenue.

The SEC’s Complaint alleged that the Defendants:

  • Glenn Grossman, 33, Cedarhurst, NY;
  • Lawrence Steven Cohen, 35, Cedarhurst, NY;
  • David Schmidt;
  • John Zanic, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada,

    who are all characterized as “stock promoters,” engaged in a fraudulent scheme to manipulate the market for GYGC by bribing registered representatives (“RRs”) to purchase GYGC common stock in accounts over which the RRs had trading discretion.

    The Complaint alleges that between April and August, 2008, Individual Arepresented himself to Defendants Grossman, Cohen, and Schmidt as a person who could move stock. More to the point, Individual A claimed to have ties to a group of RRs with discretion over the accounts of wealthy customers.

    On April 17, 2008, Grossman, Cohen, and Schmidt allegedly offered to pay a 30% kickback to Individual A in exchange for his help in putting away some $2-3 million of GYGC common stock. Thereafter, on April 25,2008, Defendant Cohen introduced Individual A to Defendant Zanic, who confirmed the group’s offer of a 30% kickback for purchases of $3 million of GYGC common stock. The parties apparently shook on it.

    As far as this alleged schemes go, if you believe the allegations, this deal is much pretty cut and dried. You got your gold company. You got a start-up venture with no history of operations for two years and no revenue — hey, minor details, right? Add into that mix the lovely nation of Guyana — the land of Jim Jones and Kool-Aid. Also, you have an alleged school of stock promoters circling in the waters, and they propose to work with middlemen Individual A, who, for a fee, is ready to reach out and touch any number of RRs who, also for a fee, are all too happy to work their phones (and sometimes work over their pliable customers) to drum up orders to sell the garbage for which they are going to get a nice wad of cash.

    Oops

    Except, in this particular case, one of the sharks swimming in the waters wasn’t exactly a stock promoter. Think of Individual A as a killer whale. You see, Individual A was an FBI agent. Oops!

    The Dry Run

    The Complaint alleges that Zancic then agreed to do a test transaction with Individual A, one for about $75,000 in GYGC purchases. So much for honor among alleged thieves, I guess. Apparently the stock promoters weren’t quite sure — they wanted to see if Individual A could really move some paper and decided upon a dry run, so to speak.

    During May 1-5, 2008, Defendant Zanic allegedly instructed Individual Ato submit orders to buy GYGC stock, and gave the undercover FBI agent detailed instructions about the size, price and timing of those orders. Further, Zancic allegedly told the agent which market makers to contact for execution. According to the allegations, Zanic issued these instruction so as to ensure that Individual As purchase orders were matched with Zanic’s sell orders at prices Zanic predetermined. Too bad that Zanic didn’t know that Individual A was an undercover FBI agent.

    SIDE BAR: Sometimes customers complain that their broker recommended some stock to them at $5 – you know the patter, it’s going to double or triple in a few weeks, — and the thing plummets to a buck or less. When the customers call to sell their shares, they can’t seem to get the broker on the phone, or he’s in a meeting, or he will call them back. Of course, it’s part of a stall. If the customer persists and threatens, sometimes the broker will try to convince some other pigeon that this stock selling for under a dollar is going to double or triple in weeks and use that order to buy into the stock as a way to cross the complaining customer’s order to sell. Such “No Sell” policies and crossed/matched orders are the stuff of decades of lawsuits and regulatory actions.

    The Complaint alleges that from May 1 to 5, 2008, Individual A caused the purchase of approximately 115,000 GYGC shares worth about $72,000; and, accordingly, the Defendants paid him $14,000, which the SEC characterizes as bribes.

    Shortchanged

    On May 6, 2008, Zanic allegedly wired a partial downpayment of the promised kickback in the amount of only $7,480 to Individual A– who complained about being shortchanged, which prompted the payment of an additional $6,300 from Zanic on July 17th. Defendant Zanic promised to wire the remaining balance.

    All Good Things

    On August 11,2008, Zanic purportedly offered another 30% kickback to Individual A for further GYGC purchases, but the agent did not fulfill his end of that bargain.

    The Defendants are charged with violating Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5. The SEC seeks permanent injunctive relief, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, if any, plus pre-judgment interest, civil penalties, and a judgment prohibiting Defendants from participating in any offering of penny stock.

    On November 30, 2011, a final judgment by consent was entered against Defendant Glenn Grossman, permanently barring him from participating in penny stock offerings and permanently enjoining him from future violations of Sections 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder.


  •  
    [^top^]

    Previous Entries
    October 1, 2014
    Ah yes, another fraud, another fraud coming out of Florida, another fraud involving inflated promises about a start-up company, and, for extra oomph, ... Read On
    September 30, 2014
    Stockbroker, Compliance, Legal, and Regulatory JobsEmployment Page BrokeAndBroker.com Jobs#wallstreetjobs @brokeandbrokerNOTICE TO EMPLOYERS... Read On
    September 29, 2014
    There's something about the movie biz that attracts a lot of people. Hollywood. Box Office Stars. The whole glitz and glamour thing of the red carpet.... Read On
    September 27, 2014
    IRS Telephone Scam AlertSeptember 26, 2014It seems like every day brings us yet another warning about some telephone scam involving impersonations of ... Read On
    September 26, 2014
    It seems like every day brings us yet another warning about some telephone scam involving impersonations of government employees.  In the past, f... Read On
    September 26, 2014
    For the purpose of proposing a settlement of rule violations alleged by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), without admitting or de... Read On
    September 25, 2014
    In recent years, the BrokeAndBroker.com Blog has published Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internet Crime Complaint Center ("IC3") warnings ab... Read On
    September 25, 2014
    Ah yes, the old "loss of confidence" explanation for terminating a Wall Street employee. Now there's a reason for termination that garners more than a... Read On
    September 24, 2014
    Lawyers often tell their clients to "get it in writing." The old legal joke is that a written contract is worth the paper it's written on. None of whi... Read On
    BrokeAndBroker.com Job Search
    Related Topics
    Tag Cloud
    Internet FINRA Bear Stearns Bloomberg SEC NASD NYSE Money Laundering Due Diligence Waiver Forbes China Chepucavage Broy Woody Allen Madoff NAC NPR Marketplace Stanford UBS Ketchum Antitrust NASDAQ RRBDLAW Schapiro Bill Singer BrokerAndBroker USERRA Brokeandbroker.com Morgan Keegan Arbitration Counterclaim BrokeAndBroker.com Khuzami BrokeAndBroker Aleynikov Goldman Sachs brokeandbroker Promissory Note U4 Bill SInger EFL CFTC Huffington Post Flash Crash arbitration RBC RRBDLAW.com Ponzi Affinity Fraud Wachovia Raymond James BrokeandBroker.com Expungement Fraud Securities Fraud Outside Business Activity Registered Rep Magazine FOREX BrokerAndBroker.com FBI Banc of America Pro Se Supreme Court Morgan Stanley Smith Barney E*Trade Margin email Galleon Penson U5 Defamation Protocol Wells Fargo Punitive Damages Citigroup Merrill Lynch ARS Employee Forgivable Loan Street Legal Morgan Stanley AWC Fidelity Bankruptcy Broke And Broker HFT David Sobel Day Trading Ameriprise Commissions Spouse Schwab Commission CRD Kenneth Starr IRS CNBC Complaint ATM Skimming Hacking Phishing Malware Naskovets Poteroba Koval Lincoln Financial Selling Away Outside Business Activities Rakoff 2nd Circuit Second Circuit IRA 401k Forgery Tax RRBDlaw.com Email Netschi Moore Whistleblower Street Sweeper Tran Bharara Facebook Online Severance Bonus Eligibility Rule TD Ameritrade Hedge Fund SAC 1099 Smith Barney Lehman Brothers IC3 Scottrade Lehman JPMorgan Chase Hertz Insider Trading Bank of America Department of Justice Elles Bribe Auction Rate Securities Raiding Spam Edward Jones Medicare Diabetes Dow Schumer Walter Bid Rigging Real Estate Discrimination Wall Street Statutory Disqualification Form U4 Form U5 Indictment Boyland DOJ Corruption bill singer FTC Do Not Call FINRA Arbitration Costa Rica Settlement LIBOR Varney Plea Rule 8210 RRBDlaw Appeal Fowler LPL Johnson US Airways Reg D MSSB Vault Loan SunTrust Discovery Employment Rosenthal Recruiting Lawyer Trading Platform JP Morgan Employment Tuesday Wrongful Termination Bank Guarantee WaMu Solicitation REIT Martin Credit Cards Away Account Credit Repair PN Advisor Placement Group Forex Mortgage Private Placement Moon Merrill Anderson Exam Lee Borrowing Tax Lien Conversion Oppenheimer Wedbush Felony Misdemeanor Expenses ING Lien OTR Estate Jobs Florida Credit Card Elderly Flash Drive Annuity Reimbursement FNMA BrokeAndBroke TIC DWI Promissory Notes Suitability Will POA Power of Attorney Casino NSF MF Global Counterfeit Preet Bharara Corzine Hacker RIA Prison Disclosure NASAA Aguilar FCPA Subway Identity Theft Gold Dell Bar Injunction Bank Deutsche Bank Hospital God HSBC Private Placements Eric Stein Wire Fraud CCO Joshua Brown Backstage Wall Street Obstruction of Justice Reuters Retaliation Variable Annuity Arbitraiton Outside Account Options Telephone Wine Social Media ADA Pacifico Non-Prosecution Agreement Confirm Tax Fraud Retirement OBA Equity Indexed Annuities EIA MetLife Continuing Education OIP Tax Liens Willful CE Unregistered Impersonation Annuities BBVA Business Expenses ETF JOBS Act Mail Fraud Parking Variable Annuities Signatures BitTorrent Impersonator Wire Transfer Wire Crowdfunding Nasdaq Away Accounts WSP Laptop Dodd Frank Checks RMBS AML PST Solicited Unsolicited Congress SRO Wife Discretion Non-Solicitation Restaurant Commodities Private Securities Transaction Offer of Settlement Money Market employment jobs Great Recession Chase Investment Services Arrest Barclays Liens Failure To Supervise Apple Time And Price T&P Willfully Husband Letter of Authorization LOA Sexism Debit Card Knight Test Practice Sale Unfair Competition Signature Judgments Undisclosed Settlement Trainee Fee Trust Laser Side Bar Mattera Female Sales Assistant Kennedy Charge Sexist NML Argentina Embezzlement Silver Judgment Bank Fraud Deceased TSSB Mary Jo White Trustee Frumento Conspiracy 6th Circuit Proctor Rule 3040 Class Action Beneficiary NYAG Schneiderman Gallagher White Self Regulation Short Sale Compromise Website TRO Supervision Vacatur SDNY BrokeAndBroker Bill Singer Piwowar Rule 1122 Article V signature VA Regulation SP Rule 3270 OWB Stockbrokers
     
    Email Bill Singer Connect with Bill Singer on Facebook Follow Bill Singer on Twitter Link up with Bill Singer on LinkedIn Join Bill Singer on Google+