On September 30, 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged two Florida companies and their CEOs for engaging in two separate pump-and-dump schemes involving the issuance of misleading press releases hyping the companies while the respective CEOs sold their stock for major gains.
The SEC claims that Quri Resources, Inc. and Jaime Santiago Gomez, Quri’s CEO, of Miami issued numerous misleading press releases in 2009 falsely stating that Quri was involved in a mining project in Ecuador whereby it would likely find a gold reserve valued over $1 billion. The SEC separately charged Atlantis Technology Group and Christopher Dubeau, Atlantis’ CEO, of Weston, Fla., for issuing false press releases boasting that the company had business relationships with television networks to sell their video and telecommunication services. Neither the services of relationships existed.
In addition to the alleged mining project, the SEC claims that Quri Resources also made several other misrepresentations, including that it was going to acquire two mining projects in Arizona, and that it was going to acquire two additional, valuable mining projects in Ecuador. The SEC further claims that Gomez reviewed and approved the misleading press releases, while repeatedly selling Quri stock as the press releases were issued.
According to the SEC’s complaint against Atlantis Technology Group and Dubeau, Atlantis falsely claimed that Global Online Television Corporation – a subsidiary of Atlantis – offered Internet protocol television (IPTV) services and video phone services to consumers, and that Atlantis had relationships with television networks to offer such content to subscribers. The subsidiary, however, could not offer the IPTV or video phone services in 2009, and Atlantis never had any agreement with a television network to offer media content to customers.
The SEC further claims that Dubeau prepared, reviewed, and approved Atlantis’s misleading press releases while at the same time knowing that Atlantis did not offer the advertised services or possess the business relationships identified in the press releases. During this time, Dubeau also sold over 60 million shares of Atlantis stock for approximately $240,000 in gains.