Vancouver stock promoter David Sidoo is one of 15 men charged in a vast US$194 million securities fraud scheme that spans three continents.
In an April 14 filing in the Southern District of New York, the Securities and Exchange Commission alleges the defendants ran pump-and-dump schemes between 2006 and 2020 using encrypted messaging, various front companies and offshore accounts to hide their transactions. SEC charges them with fraud in the offer or sale of securities, fraud in connection with the purchase or sale of securities and unregistered offerings of securities.
The defendants stretch from Vancouver to Bulgaria and London to the British Virgin Islands.
SEC says it’s one of the most complex microcap stock fraud schemes ever.
Sidoo is accused of collaborating with three other Canadians: Ronald Bauer, aka Ronald Jacob Bauer, Craig James Auringer, and Adam Christopher Kambeitz. SEC believes Bauer and Auringer to be in the U.K., and Kambeitz is believed to be in the Cayman Islands.
Bauer is a central figure to the scheme. In recent years, he gained attention for collaborating with Nolan Bushnell, the father of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese, on the Black Sheep Ventures sports gambling promotion.
None of the allegations has been tested in court.
“David Sidoo denies the allegations contained in yesterday’s SEC filing in New York,” said his Boston-based lawyer Martin Weinberg. “He will not have further comment about these proceedings.”
In what the filing described as the “Sidoo and Bauer Ring,” Sidoo is alleged to have coordinated the fraudulent promotions and transactions of North American Oil and Gas stock from July 2013 to August 2014 and American Helium between March 2018 to February 2020. The latter allegation against Sidoo coincides with the period in which he was facing charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud for paying six-figure sums to have someone else write his sons’ university entrance exams. In March 2020, he pleaded guilty and spent three months in jail in fall 2020.
The SEC filing said Sidoo collaborated with Bauer, Arranger and Kambeitz in a fraudulent penny stock dump involving North American Oil, which originated as a shell company named Calendar Dragon Inc. that Sidoo acquired for $350,000 on April 3, 2012 via a wire payment from a Swiss banking platform to a California law firm’s trust account.
“Despite being beneficial owners of well over 10% – indeed 100% – of North American Oil’s securities, defendants Sidoo, Bauer and Auringer never made any 13D or Form 4 filing with the Commission,” the court document said. “These defendants’ failure to disclose accurate – indeed, any – information about their beneficial ownership of, trading in, or agreements concerning, North American Oil’s securities, in the face of duties to do so, defrauded investors by depriving them of this highly material information to which they were, by law, entitled.”
The court document also said Sidoo coordinated the promotional campaign for American Helium between March 2018 and July 2018.
SEC alleges proceeds from the North American Oil and Gas pump and dump were $15.23 million and $1.45 million for American Helium.
“Like others, Sidoo used offshore omnibus vehicles and front companies to conceal the fact that he was the beneficiary of stock sales, and failed both to disclose his beneficial ownership and trading and to register his stock sales as legally required.”
The SEC wants to permanently ban the defendants from being a director, promoter or trader of any penny stock, and to surrender all ill-gotten gains earned from the schemes.
In a related criminal action, Bauer, Auringer and five other Canadians are charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud, which is punishable by up to five years in jail, plus with four offences that carry maximum 20-year jail sentences: conspiracy to commit wire fraud, securities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The FBI complaint names Burnaby Hells Angels Nomads member Courtney Vasseur (aka Black Water, Cyrill Vetsch, Arctic Shark and Oscar Devries), former Eron Mortgage principal Curtis William Lehner (aka Santa), Julius Csurgo, aka Gyula Karoly Csurgo, and his Canadian/British Virgin Islands company Antevorta Capital Partners, Domenic Calabrigo, believed to be in the Bahamas, and Dean Shah, who is believed to be in Spain.
Vasseur and Lehner appeared in B.C. Supreme Court on April 14 to begin extradition proceedings.
Vasseur and Craig Leonard Retvedt were acquitted of possession of fentanyl for the purposes of trafficking in 2017, more than four years after police found drugs in the Cadillac Escalade that Retvedt crashed into a Coast Mountain bus on Cambie and 16th.
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