SEC Settles for $22.5 Million

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - A Tiburon, Calif. man named Behrooz Sarafraz will pay $22.5 million to settle an SEC complaint of working as an unregistered broker-dealer, the SEC said Thursday.
     Sarafraz helped two oil and gas firms raise more than $140 million, and they paid him $18.3 million for his troubles, the SEC says in its federal complaint.
     The two companies, TVC Opus I Drilling Program and Tri-Valley Corp., both of Bakersfield, are not parties to this case. Tri-Valley was the managing general partner of Opus, and has declared bankruptcy, according to the SEC complaint.
     Sarafraz was not a registered broker-dealer nor was he associated with one, though he was the companies' "principal salesman," the SEC says.
     Sarafraz he paid $1.9 million to others as referral fees and kept $16.4 million for himself, according to the SEC.
     Without admitting the allegations, as is customary with the SEC, Sarafraz agreed to pay $22.5 million in disgorgement, penalties and interest.