NEW YORK, Oct. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Bernstein Liebhard LLP today announced that a securities class action has been commenced in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware on behalf of a class (the "Class") of purchasers of securities of China Agritech, Inc. ("China Agritech" or the "Company") (OTC Pink: CAGC) between November 12, 2009 and March 11, 2011 (the "Class Period").
The Complaint alleges that throughout the Class Period, defendants made materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company's business operations, financial condition and prospects. Specifically, the Complaint alleges that the Company overstated its revenues and omitted to disclose significant related-party transactions. On November 12, 2009, the Company filed a Form 10-Q with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") reporting its third quarter results. The 10-Q was false because it materially misstated the Company's revenue and net income for the quarter. The Company's Form 10-K, filed with the SEC on April 1, 2010, contained similar misstatements about the Company's revenue and net income, in addition to concealing related-party transactions involving China Agritech's Chief Executive Officer ("CEO"), Yu Chang ("Chang"). The 10-K indicated that the Company purchased 15% and 12% of its raw materials from Shenzhen Hongchou Technology Company Ltd. ("Shenzehn Hongchou") in fiscal 2009 and 2008, respectively. However, it failed to disclose that during that time, Defendant Chang owned 90% of Shenzhen Hongchou. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, State of Financial Accounting Standards and SEC regulations all require the Company to disclose all material related-party transactions, which it failed to do.
However, the truth started to reveal itself regarding the accuracy of China Agritech's financial statements. On February 3, 2011, the research firm LM Research published a report asserting that China Agritech was engaged in fraud. The report concluded that the Company's financial statements were fraudulent, its purported revenue was overstated and that its plants were idle. As a result of the LM Research report, shares in China Agritech declined from a close of $10.78 on February 2, 2011 to $9.85 on February 3, 2011, on unusually high volume of over 2.6 million shares. Then, on February 15, 2011, Bronte Capital issued a scathing report presenting additional facts indicating that China Agritech was engaged in fraud and could not possibly have produced the revenue it claimed in its financial statements. As a result of the Bronte Capital report, shares in China Agritech declined from a close of $9.21 on February 15, 2011 to $7.44 on February 16, 2011, again on unusually high volume of over 2.8 million shares.On March 13, 2011, China Agritech announced the formation of a Special Committee of its Board of Directors to investigate the allegations of fraud that the Company maintained had been made by third parties. The next day, China Agritech announced in a Form 8-K filed with the SEC that Ernst & Young Hua Ming ("E&Y") had been dismissed as the Company's independent auditor. In explaining its reasons for the dismissal, the Company revealed that it had, in essence, concealed that E&Y had identified serious problems with its financial statements as early as December 15, 2010 and had informed the Company's board that an internal investigation was necessary. Yet, the Company failed to correct the problems with the financial statements and failed to provide verification for certain transactions – prompting "E&Y [to] orally advise the Audit Committee that it may not be able to rely on management's representations based on the issues identified." Additionally, on March 14, 2011, the NASDAQ halted trading in China Agritech stock with its share price at $6.88 per share and initiated delisting proceedings. On May 20, 2011, after being delisted by the NASDAQ, China Agritech shares opened for trading on the pink sheets. That day, shares in China Agritech closed at $3.80 per share, a decline of $3.08 per share, or almost 45%. Plaintiffs seek to recover damages on behalf of all Class members who purchased or otherwise acquired China Agritech securities during the Class Period. If you purchased or otherwise acquired China Agritech securities during the Class Period, and either lost money on the transaction or still hold the shares, you may wish to join in this action to serve as lead plaintiff. In order to do so, you must meet certain requirements set forth in the applicable law and file appropriate papers no later than December 7, 2012. A "lead plaintiff" is a representative party that acts on behalf of other class members in directing the litigation. In order to be appointed lead plaintiff, the court must determine that the class member's claim is typical of the claims of other class members, and that the class member will adequately represent the class. Under certain circumstances, one or more class members may together serve as lead plaintiff. Your ability to share in any recovery is not, however, affected by the decision whether or not to serve as a lead plaintiff. You may retain Bernstein Liebhard LLP, or other counsel of your choice, to serve as your counsel in this action.