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Friday, October 17, 2014

SEC ANNOUNCES JURY FINDS FORMER CHAIRMAN FAILED START-UP, LIABLE FOR SECURITIES FRAUD

FROM:  U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 23112 / October 15, 2014
Securities and Exchange Commission v. iShopNoMarkup.com, Inc., et al., Civil Action No. 04-CV-4057 (E.D.N.Y.)

Jury Finds Anthony M. Knight, Former Chairman of a Failed Internet Startup, Liable for Securities Fraud and Illegal Sale of Unregistered Securities

On Tuesday, October 14, 2014, a jury in federal court in Central Islip, New York returned a verdict in favor of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The jury found the former Chairman of failed Long Island-based internet startup, iShopNoMarkup.com, Inc., liable for securities fraud and illegally selling unregistered securities. The defendant, Anthony M. Knight co-founded iShop, and was formerly the Chairman of iShop's Board of Directors. He also served at various times as iShop's Secretary and Chief Executive Officer. The Commission had charged that from the fall of 1999 until the summer of 2000, iShop, Knight and others conducted a fraudulent securities offering scheme that defrauded over 350 investors who invested approximately $2.3 million. iShop also failed to file any registration statement with the Commission as to the securities sold.

United States District Judge Denis R. Hurley, who presided over the trial, will determine the remedies and sanctions to be imposed against the defendant. The Commission is seeking a judgment requiring the defendant to pay disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus prejudgment interest, as well as civil monetary penalties, an injunction, and an officer and director bar.

Anthony Knight, age 48, was at the time of the conduct a resident of Great Neck, New York, and is currently a resident of San Diego, California.

The Commission charged that from the fall of 1999 until the summer of 2000, iShop conducted a fraudulent and unregistered securities offering. iShop distributed offering memoranda and other documents to investors that misrepresented, and failed to disclose, material information concerning iShop's business operations. Knight and others also made oral misrepresentations to investors to persuade them to invest in iShop stock. Knight also supervised Scott W. Brockop, iShop's former Vice President of Sales and Marketing, who oversaw an operation at iShop through which employees cold-called potential investors, and made material misrepresentations to induce them to purchase iShop stock. Through the offering, iShop sold nearly 6.75 million shares of stock to over 350 investors, and obtained proceeds of approximately $2.3 million. iShop did not file a registration statement for the sale of these securities, and there was no registration statement otherwise in effect.

The Commission also charged iShop, Brockop, and Moussa Yeroushalmi a/k/a Mike Yeroush, iShop's former President. On October 26, 2006, the District Court entered a final judgment by default against Brockop, and on February 15, 2007, a Commission administrative law judge entered an order by default against Brockop barring him from association with any broker or dealer. On January 21, 2011, the District Court entered a final judgment by consent against Yeroush. On April 30, 2014, the District Court entered a final judgment by consent against iShop, leaving Knight as the sole remaining defendant in the litigation.

The jury found that defendant Knight violated Sections 5(a), 5(c), and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. Judge Hurley will make the determination as to the final relief that should be imposed against the defendant. The Commission seeks an order permanently enjoining the defendant from violations of the above provisions of the federal securities laws, requiring disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, plus prejudgment interest thereon, and imposing civil penalties pursuant to Section 20(d) of the Securities Act and Section 21(d)(3) of the Exchange Act. The Commission also seeks an order barring the defendant from acting as an officer or director of a public company under Section 21(d)(2) of the Exchange Act.

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