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Misrepresentations

This archive displays posts tagged as relevant to fraudulent misrepresentations in financial transactions and financial markets. You may also be interested in the following pages:

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May 31, 2022

Healthcare company SCWorx Corp. has agreed to resolve SEC charges that it made false and misleading statements in an April, 2020 press release, claiming in a press release that it had received a purchase order for millions of COVID-19 rapid test kits.  The announcement caused the company’s stock price to surge, but the SEC alleged that the company had neither a legitimate supplier of COVID-19 test kits nor an executed purchase agreement with a buyer.  When the true facts became public, investors lost at least $116 million.  The company has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $125,000 and contribute stock valued at $600,000 as disgorgement and prejudgment interest to harmed investors in a private class action.  The company’s former CEO, Marc Schessel, has been indicted for securities fraud with respect to the scheme.  SEC; USAO NJ

May 25, 2022

Twitter will pay $150 million in civil penalties and implement new compliance measures to settle allegations of FTC Act violations by misrepresenting how it would deploy users’ nonpublic contact information, affecting more than 140 million Twitter users. From 2013 to 2019, Twitter collected users’ telephone numbers and email addresses under the guise of account security protocols, while concealing their secondary use of this information to help companies send targeted ads to consumers, which thereby increased Twitter’s primary source of revenue. In addition to the monetary penalty, Twitter is required to implement a new privacy and information security program and comply with numerous other reporting and record-keeping requirements. DOJ, USAO NDCA

May 23, 2022

Art dealer Inigo Philbrick will spend 7 years in prison and forfeit over $86 million for defrauding investors to finance his art business. Over a 3-year period, from 2016 through 2019, Philbrick misrepresented the ownership of certain artworks, selling multiple ownership interests in an artwork totaling more than 100%; created fraudulent contracts and records to further the scheme; made material misrepresentations and omissions to collectors, investors, and lenders; and sold or used artworks as collateral on loans without the knowledge of the artworks’ co-owners. The fraud was eventually exposed when investors learned of the fraudulent records and material misrepresentations Philbrick had made, and a lender notified Philbrick that he was in default on a $14 million loan. USAO SDNY

May 23, 2022

Registered investment advisor BNY Mellon Investment Adviser agreed to pay a $1.5 million penalty to resolve allegations that it misstated or omitted material facts with respect to investment decisions for certain mutual funds in managed.  Specifically, the SEC alleged that BNY Mellon represented or implied that all investments in the funds had undergone a review with respect to Environmental, Social, and Governance (“ESG”) considerations, even though that was not always the case.  SEC

May 19, 2022

Sohrab “Sam” Sharma, Robert Farkas, and Raymond Trapani will disgorge over $40 million for raising more than $32 million from investors in their unregistered ICO of “CTR tokens” through their controlled entity, Centra Tech Inc. The fraudsters made material misrepresentations in their marketing of the tokens, including claiming partnerships with Visa, MasterCard, and The Bancorp; created fake executive bios; misrepresented the company’s viability; and manipulated trading in the tokens to generate interest. The three defendants have been sentenced to imprisonment in addition to the financial penalties levied. SEC

May 17, 2022

R360 LLC and its owner, Steven Doumar, were hit with a $3.8 million civil penalty judgment under the Opioid Addiction Recovery Fraud Prevention Act of 2018, for deceiving people seeking addiction treatment. The case, a first for the FTC under the Act, alleges that R360 made misrepresentations in its television ads for its “R360 Network,” comprised of supposed addiction treatment and recovery specialists. R360 and Doumar touted a rigorous evaluation process for its service providers, to meet the customers’ individualized needs. In fact, Doumar was the one responsible for assessing and selecting the treatment centers, even though he had no expertise or education in the field. The FTC also secured an order prohibiting Doumar from making similar misrepresentations going forward. FTC

May 17, 2022

Allianz Global Investors U.S. LLC pleaded guilty to securities fraud and agreed to pay a criminal fine of $2.3 billion, an SEC penalty of $675 million, and over $5 billion in disgorgement and restitution to victims.  Three former AGI senior portfolio managers, Gregoire Tournant, Trevor Taylor, and Stephen Bond-Nelson, also pleaded guilty to related charges and will be sentenced at a later date.  As part of its plea, AGI admitted that between 2014 and 2020, AGI and the individual defendants made false and misleading statements to current and prospective investors in AGI’s Structured Alpha Funds which understated downside risks and overstated the level of independent risk oversight over the funds.  While the funds promised risk management and hedging, the actual investment strategy prioritized returns over risk management, and the promised hedging positions were not purchased.  To conceal losses and understate the magnitude of the actual risks, defendants fraudulently altered numerous financial reports and other information provided to investors.  The scheme was exposed when the funds experienced billions in losses during the 2020 COVID-related market volatility. With its guilty plea, AGI US is disqualified from providing advisory services to U.S.-registered investment funds for the next ten years, and will exit the business of conducting these fund services.  SEC; DOJ; SDNY

May 6, 2022

NVIDIA Corporation has agreed to a cease-and-desist order and to pay a $5.5 million penalty for violations of the Securities Act and the disclosure provisions of the Securities Exchange Act. NVIDIA failed to disclose cryptomining as a significant element of its material revenue growth, depriving investors of critical information related to the investment’s volatility. SEC

May 5, 2022

Kohl’s and Walmart will pay $5.5 million in penalties for alleged violations of the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act, Textile Rules, and FTC Act for deceptively advertising rayon products as being made of bamboo, for falsely attesting to their environmentally-friendly qualities. They engaged in this behavior despite being warned by the FTC in 2010 that advertising rayon products as bamboo products violated the Textile Rules and FTC Act. DOJ

May 4, 2022

Intuit reached an agreement with all 50 states to pay $141 million in restitution for deceptively steering low-income taxpayers to a paid tax preparation service rather than the free service as advertised. Intuit utilized deceptive television ads (“free, free, free”), paid search advertisements to direct customers to Intuit’s “freemium” product, and blocked its IRS Free File landing page from search engine results during the 2019 tax filing season. NYAG; NJ OAG; DE AG; FL AG; NY AG; PA AG; NC AG
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