Underwriter Due Diligence – Fact or Fiction – Boca Raton, Florida Fraudulent Underwriting Attorney

Underwriter Due Diligence – Fact or Fiction – Boca Raton, Florida Fraudulent Underwriting Attorney

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Macquarie Capital (USA) Inc. et al., Civil Action No. 15-CV-02304

SEC Charges New York-Based Brokerage Firm with Faulty Underwriting of Public Offering by China-Based Company

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced charges against a New York-based brokerage firm responsible for underwriting a public offering despite obtaining a due diligence report indicating that the China-based company’s offering materials contained false information.

Macquarie Capital (USA) Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of global financial services firm Macquarie Group Limited, has agreed to settle the SEC’s charges by paying $15 million and separately covering the costs of setting up a Fair Fund to compensate investors who suffered losses after purchasing shares in the public offering by Puda Coal. The SEC previously charged the Puda Coal executives behind the offering fraud at the company, which is no longer in business.

The SEC also charged former Macquarie Capital managing director Aaron Black and former investment banker William Fang for failing to exercise appropriate care in their due diligence review. Black agreed to pay $212,711 and Fang agreed to pay $35,000 to settle the charges.

According to the SEC’s complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan, Macquarie Capital was the lead underwriter on a secondary public stock offering in 2010 by Puda Coal, which traded on the New York Stock Exchange at the time and purported to own a coal company in the Peopleâ€TMs Republic of China (PRC). In the offering documents, Puda Coal falsely told investors that it held a 90-percent ownership stake in the Chinese coal company. Macquarie Capital repeated those statements in its marketing materials for the offering despite obtaining a report from Kroll Associates showing that Puda Coal did not own any part of the coal company. According to corporate registry filings in the PRC that Kroll accessed in its due diligence review, Puda Coal’s chairman had transferred ownership of the coal company to himself and then sold nearly half of his interest to the largest state-owned investment firm in the PRC. As a result, Puda Coal no longer had any ownership stake or source of revenue.

According to the SEC’s complaint, Kroll provided its report to Fang, who read it but failed to act on the information revealing that Puda Coal no longer owned the coal company. Instead, Fang circulated the report to other members of the Puda Coal deal team and stated in the e-mail that “no red flags were identified.” Black, who served as one of the transaction directors on the Puda Coal deal, received the report from Fang and read portions stating that Puda Coal’s chairman owned 50 percent of the coal company of which Puda Coal was claiming to own 90 percent. Black likewise failed to act on the information.

The SEC alleges that Macquarie Capital made a net profit of $4.17 million as lead underwriter on the Puda Coal offering, which sold stock to investors at a price of $12 per share. When reports about Puda Coal’s false claim appeared on the Internet based on the same PRC filings that Kroll Associates accessed for its report, Puda Coal’s stock price plunged as low as pennies per share.

The SEC’s complaint charges Macquarie Capital, Black, and Fang with violating Sections 17(a)(2) and 17(a)(3) of the Securities Act of 1933. They agreed to settle the charges and accept permanent injunctions without admitting or denying the allegations. The settlement is subject to court approval. In addition to the monetary penalties, Black has agreed to be barred from supervisory positions in the securities industry and Fang has agreed to be barred from the securities industry, both for at least five years.

Contact Us:

With extensive courtroom, arbitration and mediation experience and an in-depth understanding of elder abuse, exploitation and securities law, our firm provides all of our clients with the personal service they deserve. Handling cases worth $25,000 or more, we represent clients throughout Florida and across the United States, as well as for foreign individuals that invested in U.S. banks or brokerage firms. Contact us to arrange your free initial consultation.

At the Boca Raton Law Office of Russell L. Forkey, we represent clients throughout South and Central Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Sunrise, Plantation, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray, Boynton Beach, Hollywood, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Manalapan, Jupiter, Gulf Stream, Wellington, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Palm City, Jupiter, Miami, Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Heathrow, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach, Vero Beach, Daytona Beach, Deland, New Smyrna Beach, Ormand Beach, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Dade County, Orange County, Seminole County, Martin County, Brevard County, Indian River County, Volusia County and Monroe County, Florida. The law office of Russell L. Forkey also represents South American, Canadian and other foreign residents that do business with U.S. financial institutions, investment advisors, brokerage and precious metal firms.

Contact Information