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Company Sold Shares Through Bogus|Claims For HIV Test, SEC Says

TAMPA (CN) - Southwestern Medical Solutions defrauded investors by issuing false press releases claiming that the FDA had approved its diagnostic tests for HIV, leukemia, hepatitis and other diseases, the SEC claims in Federal Court. The SEC says the company has no employees, no revenue and no office.

"Southwestern issued several false and misleading press releases claiming the Food and Drug Administration had approved its Labguard diagnostic testing device; the company had received an order for several thousand units of the Labguard device; and Southwestern had pending patents and trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office," the SEC says.

The SEC also sued Southwestern's officers, John Hedges, Richard Powell, and Basil Meecham, claiming their bogus announcements goosed the stock price by 56 percent in one day, and trading volume by 214 percent.

The SEC suspended trading in the company's shares on Sept. 11, 2006.

Hedges, 40, of Tucson, is the company's CEO.

Powell, of Tampa, is the vice president.

Meacham, the only other officer in the company, also lives in Florida, the SEC says.

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