Securities Industry Commentator by Bill Singer Esq

December 13, 2017

United States of America v. Akayed Ullah, Defendant (Complaint, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, 17-MAG-9200 ) In connection with his alleged December 11, 2017, bombing in the New York City subway system, Ullah is charged with Provision of Material Support and Resources to a Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization; Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction; Bombing a Place of Public Use; Destruction of Property by Means of Fire or Explosive; and Use of a Destructive Device During and in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence. READ the FULL TEXT Complaint

Federal Court Orders Kevin Michael Symons of Foot Hill Ranch, California and His Firm, FTS Financial, Inc., to Pay over $5 Million Total for Fraud and Jerry Austin Simmons of Charlotte, North Carolina to Pay $360,000 for Fraud and Failure to Register with the CFTC (CFTC Release pr7659-17) CFTC wins Consent Orders against Defendants Kevin Michael Symons and his company, FTS Financial, Inc. (FTS); and Jerry Austin Simmons based upon allegations of their fraudulently promoting Simmons' "Real Time Trade Room." CFTC alleged that the purported online futures "trading" forum claimed it was offering a way to observe Simmons trading futures contracts "live." Although Simmons allegedly solicited clients to open managed futures trading accounts, he was not CFTC-registered as as an Associated Person of a Commodity Trading Advisor. FTS will pay $2.4 million disgorgement and a $2.4 million civil monetary penalty; Symons to pay $289,000 disgorgement and a $100,000 civil monetary penalty; and Simmons to pay $180,000 disgorgement and a $180,000 civil monetary penalty. The Orders impose permanent trading and registration bans and a permanent injunction. READ FULL-TEXT: Simmons Consent Order; and FTS/Symons Consent Order.

SEC Charges Biopharmaceutical Company With Failing to Properly Disclose Perks for Executives Former CEO and CFO Also Charged (SEC Press Release 2017-229)

The SEC charged biopharmaceutical company Provectus with accounting controls and disclosure violations, including the failure to properly report as compensation millions of dollars in perks provided to then-CEO Dr. H. Craig Dees  and then-CFO Peter R. Culpepper. Without admitting or denying the SEC's findings, Provectus and Culpepper consented to separate cease-and-desist orders; and Culpepper agreed to pay $152,376 in disgorgement and interest, a civil penalty, and to be suspended from appearing and practicing before the SEC as an accountant, which includes not participating in the financial reporting or audits of public companies with permission to re-apply for reinstatement after three years. Separately, the SEC charged Dees and seeks an injunction, disgorgement plus interest, penalties, and an officer-and-director bar.  READ: the Provectus Order; the Culpepper Order; and the Dees ComplaintAs set forth in the "Summary" portion In The Matter Of Provectus Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., Respondent. (Order Instituting Cease-and-Desist Proceedings, Making Findings, and Imposing a Cease-and-Desist Order, 34 Release No. 82292; Administrative Proceeding File No. 3-18306 / December 12, 2017):

1. From at least 2011 to early 2016, Provectus paid its then-Chief Executive Officer ("CEO") H. Craig Dees approximately $3.2 million in purported business travel advances and expense reimbursements that Dees fraudulently obtained and used for his personal benefit. Dees submitted false cash advance requests and expense reports that contained limited details of the claimed business trips and little, no, or fabricated supporting documentation. In addition, from at least 2013 to 2015, Provectus paid its then-Chief Financial Officer ("CFO") Peter Culpepper $199,194 in perquisites and payments for business travel that Culpepper used for unauthorized, personal expenses.

2. Provectus' insufficient internal accounting controls contributed to and failed to detect these improper and unauthorized payments, which were not accurately recorded in the company's books and records. As a result, Provectus' annual reports and definitive proxy statements materially understated the compensation paid to Dees and Culpepper in the form of personal benefits and perquisites. In addition, Provectus' annual reports stated that Provectus' internal control over financial reporting was effective, when it was not.