U.S., German, British, Canadian Provincial Regulators Cooperate In Probe Of Alleged ‘Oil And Gas’ Fraud Scheme Operating In Florida, Texas And Aruba; SEC Sues Justin Solomon And Affiliated Firms
Named defendants in the case were Justin Solomon of Deerfield Beach, Fla., and three affiliated companies: Seisma Oil Research LLC of Boca Raton, Fla., Seisma Energy Research AVV and Permian Asset Management AVV of Aruba.
Seisma Oil Research LLC also is known as Seisma Energy Research LLC, and Seisma Energy Research AVV also is known as Seisma Oil Research AVV, the SEC said.
The case is notable for reasons beyond fraud allegations and the number of companies with similar-sounding names. Indeed, the SEC said the agency was assisted in the probe by the Financial Services Authority of the United Kingdom, the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority of Germany, the Ontario Securities Commission and the Nova Scotia Securities Commission.
Also assisting internationally was the London Police Department. On the U.S. domestic front, the Division of Securities of the Florida Office of Financial Regulation also assisted.
The defendants have consented to a preliminary injunction and to repatriate “any remaining investor assets” to the United States.
Solomon and the companies raised “at least” $25 million in the scheme by using “high-pressure sales tactics” on “more than 400 non-U.S. investors,” drawing them into the scheme, the SEC said.
“The ventures were supposed to purchase undivided working interest in oil and gas projects owned and operated by two unrelated Texas companies,” the SEC said.
Investigators, though, said “Seisma never acquired any working interest for two of the six ventures and has expended only $9.5 million of the funds raised toward acquiring interests on behalf of the ventures.”
At the same time, the SEC said, “Seisma misrepresented or omitted material facts about the profitability and prospects of the oil and gas opportunities.”