The SEC charged a China-based company and the CEO with fraudulently misleading investors about its financial condition by touting cash balances that were millions of dollars higher than actual amounts.
The case is the latest from the SEC's Cross-Border Working Group that focuses on companies with substantial foreign operations that are publicly traded in the U.S. The Working Group has enabled the SEC to file fraud cases against more than 65 foreign issuers or executives and deregister the securities of more than 50 companies.
The SEC alleges that China MediaExpress, which purports to operate a television advertising network on inter-city and airport express buses in the People's Republic of China, began falsely reporting significant increases in its business operations, financial condition, and profits almost immediately upon becoming a publicly-traded company through a reverse merger. In addition to grossly overstating its cash balances, China MediaExpress also falsely stated in public filings and press releases that two multi-national corporations were its advertising clients when, in fact, they were not. The company's chairman signed the public filings and attested to their accuracy. After suspicions of fraud were raised by the company's external auditor and an internal investigation ensued, the chairman attempted to pay off a senior accountant assigned to the case.
"Investor confidence in the representations made by publicly-traded companies is critically important to the proper functioning of our financial markets," said Antonia Chion, Associate Director in the SEC's Division of Enforcement. "China MediaExpress and [its chairman] falsely reported whopping increases in its cash balances and deceptively raised money from stock sales. Today's action demonstrates the Commission's commitment to policing financial fraud in the U.S. markets, regardless of whether it is perpetrated by persons who live here or abroad."
For more information, visit EC Charges China-Based Company and CEO in Latest Cross-Border Working Group Case.
The attorneys at Sallah Astarita & Cox include veteran securities litigators and former SEC Enforcement Attorneys. We have decades of experience in securities litigation matters, including the defense of enforcement actions. We represent firms and brokers nationwide. For more information contact Mark Astarita at 212-509-6544 or at firstname.lastname@example.org