Penny Stock Fraud and Misrepresentation Litigation and FINRA Arbitration Lawyer, Russell L. Forkey, Esq.
Litigation Release No. 22126
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Joseph P. Cillo, Civil Action No. 8:11-cv-02320 (M.D. Fla. October 14, 2011)
Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) filed a Complaint for Injunctive and Other Relief (“Complaint”) in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Tampa against Joseph P. Cillo (“Cillo”). This matter involves repeated violations of a penny stock bar by Cillo over a three year period from December 2007 through December 2010.
The Complaint alleges that in November 2007, through a reverse merger with a penny-stock shell company, Cillo became the CEO and controlling shareholder of eFUEL EFN Corp. (“eFUEL”), a purported web development company then based in Tampa, Florida and listed on the OTC Market Group’s “OTC Pink” market tier (formerly the “Pink Sheets”) under the symbol “EFUL.” It further alleges that in connection with an ongoing market manipulation investigation involving eFUEL and other related entities and individuals, the SEC determined that Cillo engaged in various activities related to, and for the purpose of, issuing, trading, and inducing the purchase of eFUEL’s stock. Specifically, Cillo (1) offered and/or issued hundreds of millions of shares of eFUEL stock to third-parties as purported payment for debts and services, (2) drafted and approved multiple press releases touting the company’s business plan and development prospects, and (3) prepared, signed, and submitted periodic reports to the OTC Markets Group in order to comply with the Pink Sheets’ minimal requirements for “adequate current information.” These activities constituted violations of a 1995 Commission order barring Cillo from participating in the offering of any penny stock.
The Complaint alleges that the defendant has violated Sections 21(d)(1) and (e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) based on his violations of the previous Commission order and Section 15(b)(6)(B)(i) of the Exchange Act. The Commission seeks permanent injunctive relief, an order commanding future compliance with the Commission’s bar, disgorgement plus prejudgment interest, and civil penalties.