Linus Unah – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington, D.C., United States (4E) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced fraud charges against the former chief operating officer of a Florida-based penny stock company that falsely claimed to be “the largest publicly traded diversified portfolio of professional sports teams in the world.”
The SEC’s complaint alleges that, from July 2013 through July 2015, Diana P. Lovera and others at Oxford City used “pressure tactics and a boiler room of salespeople” to raise about $6.6 million from more than 150 investors through the sale of millions of unregistered shares of Oxford City stock.
The complaint alleges that, in connection with these unregistered stock offerings, Lovera made numerous misstatements to investors about Oxford City’s assets, its business plan, its future profitability, and the composition of its management.
The complaint further alleged that Lovera and others falsely told prospective investors they could “lock in” a discounted price on Oxford City stock using the company’s “voice verification system,” which they claimed linked the investor’s personal information to a filing with the SEC.
However, the complaint alleged that there was no such voice verification system; instead Lovera and others “merely pressed” buttons on a telephone key pad to mimic a recording device.
Lovera was charged criminally in a parallel case, according to the SEC. She pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and was sentenced to 20-month prison term, which she is now serving, and ordered to pay, jointly and severally with other defendants, about $6.31 million in restitution.
The complaint, filed in federal court in Florida, charges Lovera with federal securities violations.
To settle the charges, Lovera agreed to the entry of a final judgment, that orders her to repay $81,374 plus prejudgment interest of $3,343.
The settlement is subject to court approval.
Lovera also consented to an SEC order imposing a permanent associational bar.
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