Washington, D.C., Sept. 30, 2010 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged two Florida-based corporations and their CEOs for orchestrating two separate pump-and-dump schemes in which they issued numerous misleading press releases hyping their operations or services while their respective CEOs repeatedly sold their stock for significant profits.The SEC alleges that Quri Resources, Inc. and its CEO Jaime Santiago Gomez of Miami and Quito, Ecuador, issued misleading press releases for several months in 2009 falsely claiming that it was about to begin drilling on a mining project in Ecuador with a probable gold reserve worth more than $1 billion. The SEC separately charged Atlantis Technology Group and CEO Christopher Dubeau of Weston, Fla., for disseminating press releases over an eight-month period touting phony business relationships with television networks to sell their video and telecommunication services that did not even exist.
"Investors were duped into believing that Quri Resources was a successful mining company and that Atlantis Technology Group was selling cutting-edge technology services. Both companies misled investors with exaggerated claims while their respective senior executives illegally dumped shares into the market," said Eric I. Bustillo, Director of the SEC's Miami Regional Office. "We will continue to crack down on companies that promote misleading information."
According to the SEC's complaint filed in federal court in Miami against Quri Resources and Gomez, the misleading press releases were issued from at least February to July 2009. In addition to the false claims about the purported mining project, the SEC alleges that Quri misrepresented that it had signed letters of intent to acquire two valuable mining projects in Arizona, acquired a second mining project in Ecuador and anticipated producing gold within three months, and signed a letter of intent to acquire a third valuable mining project in Ecuador. The SEC further alleges that Gomez, who reviewed and approved the misleading press releases, repeatedly sold Quri stock in unregistered transactions as the press releases were being issued. Gomez made proceeds of approximately $17,500 in dumping the stock.
According to the SEC's complaint filed in federal court in Miami against Atlantis Technology Group and Dubeau, the Fort Lauderdale-based company issued misleading press releases from at least Aug. 7, 2009, to April 5, 2010. The SEC alleges that Atlantis falsely claimed that its subsidiary Global Online Television Corporation offered Internet protocol television (IPTV) services and video phone services to consumers, and had relationships with television networks to offer their content to subscribers. However, the subsidiary was not even in a position to offer IPTV or video phone services at that time, and Atlantis has never had any contract with a television network or any agreements to offer media content to customers.
The SEC further alleges that Dubeau drafted, reviewed, and approved Atlantis's misleading press releases while knowing that Atlantis did not have the capabilities or business relationships the press releases claimed. Meanwhile, Dubeau sold more than 60 million shares of Atlantis stock for proceeds of about $240,000, and he received $77,000 of the proceeds from an associate's sale of more than 16 million shares.
The SEC is seeking injunctions against further violations and the return of ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest and financial penalties against Gomez and Dubeau. The SEC is additionally seeking an officer and director bar against Dubeau, and penny stock bars against Gomez and Dubeau.
The Quri Resources matter was investigated by Elizabeth Fatovich and Thierry Olivier Desmet in the SEC's Miami Regional Office. The Atlantis Technology matter was investigated by Mr. Desmet and Drew Panahi in the Miami office. Edward McCutcheon will be handling the litigation of both cases. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in these matters.