This week, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it had acquired a final consent judgment against the CEO of a developer of wind turbines. The CEO was charged earlier this year for his involvement in a scheme to disguise the company’s finances during a period of financial difficulties. The final judgment was entered by the Honorable Gregory H. Woods on August 15, 2017.
The defendant, William A. Schmitz, was the former Chief Executive Officer of Arista Power Inc. He has been ordered to pay a civil penalty of $80,000 and will be subjected to 3-year officer and director and penny stock bars. Schmitz has been enjoined from violating Section 17(a) of the Securities Acts of 1933.
The SEC alleged that Schmitz and Arista counsel Michael T. Hughes helped Peter Kolokouris and his family sell their stock to private investors. The proceeds were to be used to provide essential financing to the company. The transaction was made in the guise of a fictitious loan from a supposed independent third-party, which was actually managed by Kolokouris.
The SEC accused Kolokouris of manipulating Arista stock to inflate market price and convince private investors that they were getting the family’s stock at a discount. To artificially inflate the stock’s price, it is alleged that Kolokouris made manipulative stock transactions using brokerage accounts belonging to certain family members.
Arista was also accused of falsely claiming in several public filings with the Commission that the financing came from a line of credit from a 3rd party lender. Schmitz, Hughes and Kolokouris allegedly created internal company documents to give the impression that the company’s disclosures were in line with internal corporate records. Jack Kaufman and Howard Kim have been put in charge of the SEC’s litigation and it is still ongoing.