MANHATTAN (CN) - A South Florida lawyer issued fraudulent attorney opinion letters enabling 70 million shares of microcap stock to be available for unrestricted trading, then hightailed it to the Dominican Republic and changed his name, the SEC claims in court.
The SEC sued Guy M. Jean-Pierre aka Marcelo Dominguez de Guerra, formerly of Pompano Beach, in Federal Court.
"This action charges Jean-Pierre with engaging in a fraudulent scheme to issue attorney opinion letters that facilitated the transfer of restricted microcap shares on Pink OTC Markets Inc. ('Pink Sheets'), (now named OTC Markets Group Inc.), after Pink Sheets had banned him from issuing opinion letters in relation to Pink Sheet stocks. Pink Sheets is a financial marketplace trading platform that provides price and liquidity information for nearly 10,000 securities. Jean-Pierre sought to evade the Pink Sheet ban by writing letters using his niece's identity and falsifying her signature without her knowledge or consent," the complaint states. (Parentheses in complaint.)
It continues: "Pink Sheets banned Jean-Pierre from issuing attorney opinion letters on April 21, 2010. Within two weeks, he convinced his niece, an attorney licensed in the states of California (inactive) and Texas (active), to provide him with three copies of her signature, a copy of her driver's license, and acquiescence in forming a company called Complete Legal Solutions, LLC ('Complete Legal').
"Once Jean-Pierre formed Complete Legal, he began issuing various types of attorney opinion letters under its letterhead on behalf of at least eleven companies that traded publicly on Pink Sheets, falsely bearing his niece's signature. Jean-Pierre did not stop until April 2011, when his niece informed him that she was the subject of a bar complaint in connection with a subset of the attorney opinion letters he had issued using her name."
An attorney opinion letter is required from a licensed securities attorney to facilitate transfer of restricted microcap shares on the over-the-counter markets.
According to the complaint: "Jean-Pierre, age 53, formerly a resident of Pompano Beach, Florida, is a licensed attorney in the states of New York (delinquent), California (delinquent), and Florida (active). Jean-Pierre currently resides in the Dominican Republic. On or about August 22, 2011, Jean-Pierre changed his name to Marcelo Dominguez de Guerra, but continues to use his former name, Jean-Pierre, on certain official documents like his U.S. passport.
"Jean-Pierre earned his law degree from Columbia Law School in 1985. From 1985 through 1990, Jean-Pierre worked as a corporate and securities associate at two well established law firms. Thereafter, Jean-Pierre spent the years 1991 through 1995 working for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation."
The SEC seeks disgorgement, penalties and an injunction.
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