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Monday, March 2, 2015

SEC CHARGES CO. AND EXECS. WITH TAKING FUNDS FROM INVESTORS TO DEFEND AGAINST UNRELATED LAWSUIT

FROM:  U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION 
Litigation Release No. 23203 / February 20, 2015
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Premiere Power, LLC, et al., Civil Action No. 15-CV-1248 (S.D.N.Y., filed February 20, 2015)
SEC Charges Purported Energy Company and Officers with Fraud

The Securities and Exchange Commission today filed suit against Premiere Power, LLC, its Chairman, and its CEO for misappropriating more than half of the funds raised from investors to defend an unrelated lawsuit.

In its complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, the SEC alleges that soon after forming Premiere, a company purportedly pursuing energy-related projects on Native American land, its Chairman Jerry Jankovic and his son, CEO John Jankovic, agreed to divert about half of the funds raised from investors in Premiere to cover the costs of an unrelated lawsuit pending against Jerry Jankovic and a business associate, Sandra Dyche. As a result of this agreement, the Defendants and Dyche diverted $1 million out of a total of $1.95 million raised for Premiere.

The SEC alleges that in addition to misleading Premiere investors about how their funds would be used, John Jankovic made misrepresentations to investors about Premiere's affiliates, board membership, its auditor, and about Jerry Jankovic's "proven track record" of creating "successful" energy companies.

The SEC's complaint charges Premiere and John Jankovic with violating Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The complaint charges Jerry Jankovic with violating sections 17(a)(1) and (3) of the Securities Act, Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act, and Rules 10b-5(a) and (c) thereunder and alleges that he is liable as a control person of Premiere for its violations of Exchange Act Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 thereunder pursuant to Exchange Act Section 20(a). In its action, the SEC is seeking permanent injunctions, conduct-based injunctions, disgorgement with prejudgment interest, and civil penalties.

The SEC also announced today that Dyche has agreed to a settlement with the SEC. Without admitting or denying the SEC's findings, Dyche has consented to an SEC Order finding that she violated Securities Act Section 17(a), Exchange Act Sections 10(b) and 15(a), and Rule 10b-5 thereunder and ordering her to pay a civil penalty of $250,000 and disgorgement and prejudgment interest of $1,164,000. Among other things, the SEC's Order also requires her to cease and desist from violating the antifraud provisions of the securities laws; prohibits her from soliciting or accepting funds in any unregistered securities offering for five years; and imposes other restrictions on her activities, such as associating with any broker, dealer, or investment adviser, becoming employed by a registered investment company, or participating in any penny stock offering.

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