SEC Probes China Stock Fraud Network
Frequently the prime movers in the process are Chinese, and never leave China. They enlist the help of bankers, auditors and stock promoters in the U.S. with promises of huge profits in the event of success. Often, the promoters -- some Chinese and some American -- are bailing out just as the public gets in.
The SEC is focusing its investigative efforts on the American end of the network. The agency lacks the power to compel compliance with subpoenas in China -- a fact that has not escaped the notice of dealmakers in China.
A distance of 8,000 miles, together with formidable language and cultural barriers, makes it tough for any investor to get to the bottom of a business scenario in China. Even sophisticated investment professionals spending millions on due diligence have been duped. For the moment, the frequent lack of transparency between the two countries is seen as camouflage for stock cheats. But recurring allegations of fraud and new stock blow-ups have raised questions about the reliability of accounting practices at China-based companies generally.
Some well-known blow-ups suggest the character of the broader problem:China Energy Savings Technology: This company -- the focus of yesterday's SEC action -- billed itself as a manufacturer of "energy savings products." It agreed to sell $50 million in stock through a PIPE (private investment in a public equity) in January 2006 and soon registered to sell 10 million additional shares in a public offering. A month later, the company disclosed that the SEC had opened an "informal" inquiry into its operations. Within weeks, many of the top people in the company resigned -- directors, executives, all the key participants -- and the company went dark in China, SEC records show. In April, 2009, the SEC obtained judgments finding four of the principals liable for fraud, on the basis that they had used a phony shareholder base and phony stock transactions to boost the price of stock that was essentially worthless, pocketing more than $25 million from American investors. The judgments ordered them to disgorge their profits and to pay penalties. The company is defunct.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV