The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a microcap company CEO for falsely claiming to have a lucrative relationship with the United Nations and billions of dollars in clean energy contracts with foreign governments.
The SEC alleges that RVPlus Inc. CEO Cary Lee Peterson made bogus claims in the company’s public filings and in statements to private investors, and that he and RVPlus participated in an unlawful distribution of RVPlus’s stock. The SEC temporarily suspended trading in RVPlus securities in July 2013, citing “material deficiencies” in the company’s financial statements.
“We allege that Peterson inflated RVPlus’s finances and expected profitability,” said Andrew M. Calamari, Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office. “We also allege that using a pseudonym, he posted hundreds of messages to an online investors’ forum calling RVPlus stock ‘undervalued,” and urging investors to ‘buy up as much as possible.’”
In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey today announced criminal charges against Peterson.
According to the SEC’s complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey:
- Starting in May 2012, Peterson filed periodic reports with the SEC claiming that RVPlus had a lucrative relationship with the United Nations and clean energy agreements with governmental bodies in Nigeria, Haiti, and Liberia worth $2.8 billion. RVPlus had no relationship with the U.N. and the contracts were fictitious.
- Peterson repeatedly claimed in RVPlus’s SEC filings that RVPlus had issued invoices and was owed millions of dollars in accounts receivable on the bogus contracts.
- RVPlus and Peterson gained control of more than 90 percent of RVPlus’s free trading shares and gave them to individuals who unlawfully sold them into the market.
The SEC’s complaint charges RVPlus and Peterson with violating the antifraud provisions of the securities laws and an SEC antifraud rule. It also charges RVPlus and Peterson with violating the registration provisions of the securities laws and Peterson with aiding and abetting RVPlus’s violations of the antifraud provisions. The SEC is seeking a permanent injunction, return of allegedly ill-gotten gains with interest, and penalties. In addition, it is seeking to bar Peterson from serving as a corporate officer or director and from participating in the penny-stock business.
The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Megan R. Genet, Bennett Ellenbogen, Jordan Baker, and Adam Grace of the New York office. The SEC’s litigation will be led by Preethi Krishnamurthy and supervised by Lara Shalov Mehraban. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and the British Columbia Securities Commission.