SEC Takes Emergency Action to Stop Ongoing Fraud Against Seniors
In its emergency enforcement action, the SEC seeks temporary restraining orders freezing the defendants’ and relief defendants’ assets and prohibiting the defendants from committing further violations of the federal securities laws. Regulators typically file complaints requesting emergency injunctions when they believe it will prevent further loss of investor funds, according to the Associated Press.
“This case emphasizes our continuing commitment to protecting elderly investors,” said Mark K. Schonfield, Director of the Commission’s Northwest Regional Office. “Here, we are seeking emergency relief to halt the fraud and preserve investors’ funds.”
The complaint, which was filed in the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn, alleges that One Wall Street, Inc., Donte C. Jarvis, Alan Brown, William “Bill” White and Cecil Baptiste (also known as John Latorri), raised at least $1.6 million from at least 64 investors, mostly senior citizens, who purchased unregistered One Wall Street stock from March 2003 to the present. La Shondra Hatter, Jarvis’ wife, is also named as a defendant in the complaint, however, Newsday reports this is “solely to recover investor funds in her possession.”
The complaint further alleges that to induce these sales, defendants made numerous oral and written statements that were false or misleading, including that One Wall Street would soon conduct an initial public offering (IPO), that E*TRADE financial corporation was negotiating to merge with One Wall Street, and that One Wall Street would use the investment proceeds for solely business purposes. In fact, the defendants have not pursued an IPO of One Wall Street, E*TRADE has never engaged in any business discussions with One Wall Street whatsoever, nor has One Wall Street used investor proceeds in the manner the defendants represented, according to the complaint.
Rather than apply the proceeds collected from the investors towards legitimate business expenses, the complaint alleges that Jarvis used, and continues to use, investor funds to pay his personal expenses, including jewelry purchases; gambling and “adult entertainment” services; and payments for child day care, car loans and mortgages. He has also given investor funds to his wife and fellow defendants.
The SEC’s complaint also seeks a final judgment assessing civil penalties against the defendants and ordering the defendants and relief defendant to disgorge their ill-gotten gains.