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Stock Fraud, Swindles and the American Way

by Axcess Business News Friday, Nov. 29, 2002 at 6:58 PM
editor@theaxcess.net P.O. Box 970 Carson City, NV 89702-0970 USA

Prosecutors have been attempting to stop fraud, but not until the fall of Enron and Arthur Andersen did they do anything about. Even then, it’s the largest violators they're going after, little has been done in support of the common man in penny stock schemes and swindles.

Stock Fraud, Swindle...
pitts.jpg, image/jpeg, 70x106

Stock Fraud, Swindles and the American Way

By Eric Stevenson - Axcess Business News

The year was 1982, it was a Saturday in Seattle Washington and the sun was just coming up when I was woken from a sound sleep by loud banging on my front door. When I answered it, there stood a giant of a man in blue jeans and a western shirt. Seeing him was intimidating in itself as he was very broad in the shoulders and you couldn't help but think, if wanted to, he could break your jaw with one blow.

I stood there for a second then said, "yes, can I help you"? He looked down at his worn boots for a moment, scruffed one of them around slightly as if grinding out a cigarette, then he looked up at me and his jaw started quivering as he said in a quiet, almost shy voice, "Mr. Stevenson, I saw your article on that company my broker sent me and I was just driving through and thought you ought to know, I lost 0 dollars on that stock and well, that was all the savings I had. I was gonna buy my daughter some braces for her teeth and I lost all of it. What do I do now?"

Over the years I never forgot that truck driver. There's been thousands of people just like him who trusted in some stock tip and lost their money. Regulators are burdened with complaints every day and most are never followed up on, usually because of thin budgets and limited manpower. With the advent of the Internet, today's stock touts have even more tools at their disposal then they did in the 1980's when penny stock brokerage firms flourished and the rules were lax in comparison to today.

Prosecutors have been attempting to stop fraud, but not until the fall of Enron and Arthur Andersen did they do anything about. Even then, its the largest violators they're going after. The Securities and Exchange Commission has had its hands full as well, facing pressures from capital hill as new rules on corporate governance have been taking effect. Still, little has been done in support of the common man in penny stock schemes and swindles.

Like that truck driver, a young man in Florida who was swindled in a penny stock scheme while going to school decided to do something about it. He went to the authorities and filed a complaint. Surprisingly it did no good. One of the staff members he spoke to told him they would accept his complaint, but most likely nothing would come of it, as individual complaints usually never get to prosecution due to budget constraints and manpower. He felt helpless and then decided he would do something about it. No, he didn't ask me to help. I spotted a press release he'd made and decided to contact him for an interview.

His name is Ian Park. Mr. Park is trying to launch a nationwide campaign he dubbed "Project Penny", to push for legislation that would require regulation of the over-the-counter market, commonly referred to as the "Pink Sheets". His web site is www.otcfraud.com and we're going to give Mr. Park our help and we encourage all our readers to visit Ian's site and send him an email giving him their support. If you have any stories of being swindled in penny stocks, let Ian know, it may aide him in getting regulators to listen.

I talked to Mr. Park about Project Penny and while I was skeptical at first, given his age and lack of experience, after listening to him I came away thinking more American's should be like him and speak out. Some times if you speak loud enough, people listen.

These men listened to Mr. Park! Read the excerpts from the email he received below:

R. Cromwell Coulson, Chairman & CEO, Pink Sheets, LLC;
"I agree that it is important for regulators to review the rules applying to OTC trading as part of the BBX becoming a listed exchange and there are areas which should be improved immediately, such as the immediate need for short position reporting and disclosure for all OTC equities, but more importantly, regulators should put in place a process to deal with needs that arise over time."

Gary Goodenow, Securities and Exchange Commission Division of Enforcement, X-Senior Counsel (1995);
"You are an important voice for progress in this unhappy time in the capital markets. My problem with your advocacy, as described below, is that under applicable ethical rules, a lawyer cannot take a position adversary to his clients. I fear I would do so, if I embraced your effort. Recall by the way, that I was the first SEC alumni to call for Mr. Pitt's resignation, and he has done so. Life is amazing! warmest regards."

Michael G. Oxley, Member of Congress;
"Thank you for contacting me. As you suggest, microcap stocks have always attracted more securities fraudsters than other segments of the capital markets and thus deserve appropriate scrutiny."

"I appreciate your offer to provide your company's findings to the Financial Services Committee. I look forward to reviewing that information when it becomes available."

"Again, many thanks for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to do so again in the future."

You will note there is no email link to Congressman Oxley as he had written a letter.

How about Mr. Coulson, Chairman of the Pink Sheets comment? "Regulators should put in place a process to deal with needs that arise over time!" Wow! Can you believe that guy? It sounds like he's saying, "sure, there's problems, but wait a while before doing something about it, I'm making money and need those companies to list in the Pink Sheets. If they regulate it and require disclosure, then why would they list in the Pink Sheets at all?" Don't you get that impression from his comments? Hey! I didn't say it, Mr. Coulson said it!

Mr. Park couldn't get attention from regulators when he was swindled, but since he started his grass roots campaign, Project Penny, some influential people have taken notice. He has some very good ideas and is planning to go to Washington DC and present those ideas to the Financial Services Committee. Lets hope they give Mr. Park the attention he deserves.

Ian Park isn't alone, many Americans have felt his frustrations and would like to see the laws enforced but when their own complaints went unresolved they did nothing about it. Here's their chance to be heard. Ian Park needs your support. If you think you've been swindled in some penny stock scheme or your in agreement with Mr. Park that the rules need to be changed, share your story or opinion with him by sending him an email. Visit his site and let him know you read about it in Axcess Business News and join his email list so you get updates on his progress!

Contact Ian Parks:
Ph: 850.853.2669

The truck driver who lost 0 bucks? I wrote him a check and told him to stick to driving trucks! His daughter by the way has a beautiful smile and has a daughter of her own now! He sends me pictures!

Other web sites of interest to this commentary:

Stock Patrol is very informative. They report on various scams, bad-boy brokers and have a sharp voice when it comes to suspicious stock promotions they find. Good reading, gets four stars from us. We liked the site and its content so much, we may be adding them to our list of Partner Sites and their own prominent place on our Stock page to list excerpts of their latest news!

This web site belongs to a longtime advocate of securities reform, Mr. Bill Singer. Mr. Singer is a partner with the law firm of Gusrae, Kaplan & Bruno, PLLC in New York, NY. Mr. Singer is a what I call a "rebel in a three piece suit".

He's an advocate of securities reform and a founder of a grass roots movement to reform the NASD. Mr. Singer is a practicing securities attorney and highly regarded in his field.

A known commentator who has appeared on CNNFN, Axcess Business News has offered Mr. Singer a regular column in our news portal. We'll alert our readers of Mr. Singer's new column - if he accepts our offer!

Read about the grass roots movement to reform the NASD:

Dissident NASD Member Firms Prepare For Contested Board Election

Other web sites pertaining to Stock Fraud:

Information and links for helping investors recover losses due to broker misconduct, fraud, unsuitable investments and bad advice.

Internet Fraud: How to avoid Internet scams
While legitimate online newsletters can help investors gather valuable information, some online newsletters are tools for fraud (SEC Web page)

Provides information to investors to help identify, fight and end securities fraud

Report on Micro-Cap Stock Fraud - NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL. REPORT ON MICRO-CAP STOCK FRAUD. ... This report represents the current state of micro-cap stock fraud as practiced in New York.

We'll be following Project Penny's story. Look for news alerts in Axcess Business News weekly email business news update. If your not a subscriber to Axcess Business News, please join now. Members get news on companies whose stocks we follow and can read exclusive interviews with those companies executives, plus the latest business news stories we publish. Its all free when you join!

Back to Small Cap Stocks >>

Give us your feedback on this Story

The views or opinions contained Inside Commentary are those of the editor and are not necessarily the views or opinions of Axcess Business News. Comments made are independent of this web site, its partners sites, or the staff, employees, directors, officers or agents of Axcess Business News. No comments, views or opinions are intended to support any political party, organization, association or group, directly or indirectly, in any manner. Inside Commentary is purely an editorial presentation of our editor on subjects of interest to our audience. If you have any comments or suggestions please direct them to editor@theaxcess.net.

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