SEC Rounds Up Penny Stock Promoters

     MIAMI (CN) - The SEC on Thursday filed five lawsuits accusing penny stock promoters of manipulating the market "to generate the false appearance of market interest."
     The lawsuits are the latest round of the SEC Miami Office's actions against penny stock promoters in South Florida.
     Most of the Thursday lawsuits accuse the defendants of paying "a corrupt promoter" to push stocks, but "unbeknownst to (the defendants), the corrupt promoter was a witness cooperating with the FBI," the SEC said in the complaints.
     Sued were Richard A. Altomare , of Boca Raton; Jeffrey M. Berkowitz , of Jupiter; Eric S. Brown , of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Kevin McKnight and Stephen C. Bauer , both of Boca Raton; and Billy V. Ray Jr ., of Cumming, Ga., Wade Clark, of Melissa, Texas, and Urban AG Corp., a Delaware corporation based in Andover, Mass.