Securities Industry Commentator by Bill Singer Esq

March 20, 2020

Las Vegas strip club to offer drive-through peep show (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

We Will Prevail: Compassion, Sacrifice, and Endurance ( Blog)

Amazon Prime Pantry temporarily closes as online shopping surges amid coronavirus outbreak ( by Annie Palmer)

In re: Pending Administrative Proceedings (SEC Order)

SEC Charges Recidivist Investment Adviser with Fraud and Seeks Enforcement of a Commission Order (SEC Release)
As noted in part in the CNBC Article:
  • France, Spain and Italy are among the European countries hardest-hit by the coronavirus, and whose citizens are required to stay indoors for the foreseeable future in an effort to slow the virus's spread. 
  • Afternoon traffic has jumped as well, which the blog's authors attribute to more people working from the comfort of their homes.
Bill Singer's Comment: Ummm, "working from the comfort of their homes"? More likely a lot of anxious folks simply taking matters into their own hands, so to speak. I can just imagine the lame excuses: "Oh, no, honey, I'm not watching porn. I'm reading an article on the Securities Industry Commentator."

Las Vegas strip club to offer drive-through peep show (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
To those who would say that the great American entrepreneurial spirit has died, this is proof to the contrary! Clearly, we will beat the coronavirus pandemic, even if only one lap-dance at a time.
We are right to be afraid of the coronavirus. The malady spreading across the planet is frightening. Still, as William Faulkner so eloquently noted, after that last dingdong of doom clangs and fades and the coronavirus has exhausted itself, what will remain of us is more than a mere head-count.

Amazon Prime Pantry temporarily closes as online shopping surges amid coronavirus outbreak ( by Annie Palmer)
As noted in part by Annie Palmer in her article:

A notice at the top of the Prime Pantry website Thursday read: "Pantry is temporarily closed. We are busy restocking." The service gives Prime subscribers access to discounted grocery and household items, which they can then have delivered to their door. 

Amazon said the closure was due to "high order volumes" and pointed to other areas of its site that offer similar items, including Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods and the Grocery and Household category. An Amazon spokesperson confirmed to CNBC that Prime Pantry is temporarily closed nationwide. 

Bill Singer's Comment: Wow, talk about the times we live in. Even Amazon lacks the "operational capacity" to scale-up in the face of the coronavirus. On the other hand, Las Vegas seems capable of meeting the increasing demand for drive-through lap dances. Maybe some MBA program can study the disconnect and publish a paper?

In re: Pending Administrative Proceedings (SEC Order, '33 Act Rel. No. 10767; '34 Act Rel. No. 88415; Invest. Adv. Act Rel. No. 5467; Invest. Co. Act Rel. No. 33820) As set forth in pertinent part in the SEC Release:

The Commission orders that, pursuant to Rule of Practice 100(c)1 and pending further
order of the Commission, all parties in proceedings initiated by an order instituting proceedings, the filing of a petition for review of an initial decision by a hearing officer, the filing of an application for review of a self-regulatory organization determination, or the filing of an application for review of a determination by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, shall to the extent possible submit all filings to the Commission by sending them to the Commission electronically at The Commission will also continue to accept paper filings sent to the Office of the Secretary, although processing of documents received only via mail may be delayed. Parties are reminded of their obligations to serve all filings on each party in the proceeding and are encouraged to provide each other with courtesy copies of all
filings electronically.
In a Complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, the SEC charged Brandon E. Copeland  with willfully violating Section 203(f) of the Advisers Act by associating with an investment adviser in violation of a previously imposed  Bar pursuant to an SEC Order, violating his cease-and-desist order, and failing to pay the ordered $25,000 civil penalty. Based upon the solicitation for the new private fund, the Complaint also charged Copeland and E.B. & Copeland Capital, Inc. with violating the antifraud provisions of Section 206(4) of the Advisers Act and Rule 206(4)-8 thereunder, and, in the alternative, charges Copeland with aiding and abetting Copeland Capital's violations of those provisions. As alleged in part in the SEC Release:

In July 2019, the Commission instituted a settled order against Copeland for making false and misleading statements to investors in Form ADV filings and offering materials. The Commission's order found that Copeland willfully violated the antifraud provisions of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, and willfully aided and abetted or caused violations of the registration provisions of the Advisers Act. The order further imposed against Copeland a cease-and-desist order, a collateral bar, and an investment company prohibition, and a $25,000 penalty.

According to the SEC's complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Copeland immediately violated the Commission's order and, together with Copeland Capital, committed new violations of the Advisers Act. Copeland allegedly established a new investment adviser and private fund shortly before the Commission's order was instituted. After the order was instituted, Copeland and Copeland Capital promoted themselves and their private fund on a public website that contained numerous misstatements and omissions regarding the status and success of the private fund, as well as Copeland's industry experience and disciplinary history with the Commission.

SEC Charges Two South Florida Residents with Insider Trading (SEC Release)
In a Complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the SEC charged Scott O. Hirsch and Kenneth L. Friedman with insider trading in the stock of PetMed Express. Without admitting or denying the allegations in the Complaint, Hirsch and Friedman consented to permanent injunctions prohibiting them from violating the antifraud provisions of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. Hirsch agreed to pay $74,536 in disgorgement, $9,585 in prejudgment interest, and a civil money penalty of $95,472; and Friedman agreed to pay $501,697 in disgorgement, $64,517 in prejudgment interest, and a civil monetary penalty of $501,697. As alleged in part in the SEC Release, Hirsch and Friedman were:

tipped material, nonpublic information by an acquaintance who was then a senior manager of PetMed and a member of PetMed's management committee. According to the SEC's complaint, the senior manager had access to PetMed's quarterly earnings, business operations, and financial performance. As alleged, the senior manager provided Hirsch and Friedman information about PetMed's fiscal 2017 fourth quarter and year-end financial results before the company's May 8, 2017 earnings announcement. Hirsch and Friedman traded on the basis of the information, and Hirsch further tipped his relatives.

For the purpose of proposing a settlement of rule violations alleged by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA"), without admitting or denying the findings, prior to a regulatory hearing, and without an adjudication of any issue, Scott Patrick Kozak submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent ("AWC"), which FINRA accepted. The AWC alleges that Scott Patrick Kozak entered the industry in 1989, and by 2001 he was registered with FINRA member firm Ceterea Advisors LLC. The AWC alleges that  Cetera discharged Kozak on July 23, 2018 for "violating firm policy prohibiting Personal Securities Transactions." The AWC alleges that Kozak "does not have any disciplinary history with the Securities and Exchange Commission, any state securities regulators, FINRA, or any other self-regulatory organization." In accordance with the terms of the AWC, FINRA found that Kozak had violated FINRA Rules 3040, 3270, and 2010; and the self regulator imposed upon him a $10,000 fine and a two-year suspension from association with any FINRA member firm in any capacity. As alleged in part in the AWC's "Overview":

Between 2011 and 2014, Kozak participated in three sets of private securities transactions without providing prior written notice to his member firm, collectively soliciting twelve firm customers and three Cetera registered representatives to invest $1,166,000 in the securities of two companies, in violation of NASD Rule 3040 and FINRA Rule 2010. Additionally, between January 2016 and March 2017, Kozak engaged in an outside business activity without notifying his Firm, by forming a company through which he purchased the assets of, and operated, the company that was the subject of the second and third private securities transactions, in violation of FINRA Rules 3270 and 2010.