The Securities and Exchange Commission has finally filed an enforcement action against Barry Honig, Philip Frost, and Michael Brauser for trading as a group of affiliates without disclosing their true stock ownership. A group of ten men are named in the complaint as being part of the fraud with Honig listed as the ring leader. The regulator will be trying to ban the men from the industry and charge them millions in restitution and fines. I reported on September 5 the SEC could be bringing an enforcement action soon when I saw Honig’s attorney Harvey Kesner had been removed from the law firm the bore his name.
I was the first journalist who reported Honig and others were under SEC investigation for the actions detailed in their new complaint two years ago at www.growthcapitalist.com and here at this publication. Honig hired a bull dog attorney who makes his money attacking free speech named Charles Harder to sue me for reporting he was the target of an SEC investigation. I had the pro bono help of Eric David, a North Carolina attorney, to stand up to Honig’s lawsuit and we litigated until he dropped the suit against me. Honig’s goal was to get through discovery and force me to disclose the names of people I had interviewed that the regulator had spoken to about Honig and told them he was under investigation. I held my ground even when faced with the possibility of being held in contempt and never revealed my sources. I knew the story was true and it was important for the investing public to know how Honig illegally operates.
The SEC was very slow to sue Honig and the three stocks mentioned in the complaint are only the tip of the iceberg regarding pump and dump schemes Team Honig has done. Because I have interviewed multiple people who have worked with Honig or been company executives of small cap stocks that he has invested in I can report who are the unnamed companies in the SEC complaint.
Company A is Biozone. It was run my a Northern California man named Daniel Fisher. Then Honig came in with his crew and took it over. Eliot Maza and Brian Kelley were part of the Honig-Frost-Brauser ring in that company which later was renamed CoCrystal. Maza and Kelley are also charged for securities violations in the SEC’s Honig complaint.
Company B is MGT Capital. It is run by Rob Ladd and for some time John McAfee was an executive of the company. Honig made a bizarre move and sued Ladd and others in the company for basically stopping him from getting more cheap warrants and trying to take over the company so he could do probably do multiple pump and dumps with the stock. Honig won a partial motion to dismiss in his case against Ladd but also disclosed his behind the scenes strategy to give desperate small cap companies bridge loans that they can’t repay and then the debt gets turned in to discounted stock. Honig suddenly dropped the suit against Ladd in May on the same week another one of his investments filed an 8-K admitting the SEC was investigation preferred share investors for not disclosing they were trading as affiliates. That company is Company C in the complaint.
Company C is MabVax Therapeutics and it is odd that the company CEO’s were not charged with an enforcement action by the SEC when it is clear from the SEC complaint they allowed Honig to control decision making of the company and hide his involvement from investors.
The SEC said this case isn’t over in their press release yesterday and that the investigation is on going. I would bet the regulator’s goal is to flip a few of the men who work with Honig and are named in the complaint and then the DOJ could bring criminal charges against Honig and others. There could also be other companies added to the complaint like $COOL, $RIOT, $MARA. Each of these companies were subject of a recent Sharesleuth investigation and story.
Every time I print a story on Honig this publication is hit with a DDOS attack that tries to crash the site and drive up cost of hosting this news publication on the internet. My personal email has been hacked, I have had men show up at my NYC apartment building trying to speak to me about Honig, and teribuhl.com had a story removed by a hacker two years ago that involved Honig and his lawyer Harvey Kesner. Let’s just say reporting on this man is costly. That’s why reader donations are extremely important to keep the reporting up and free for the market to read. Please donate to support journalism that makes an impact. There is another story on Honig and other firms he works with and their illegal actions that are not described in the SEC complaint coming soon.
Update 9.10.2018: Bill Alpert at Barrons who has covered small cap bad actors for years has reported an excellent backstory on Philip Frost, Barry Honig and the rest of Team Honig. Bill was early in reporting on what could be stock manipulation run by Team Honig back in 2014. Bill also credited my original reporting in his story.
Here is how that story came about: In 2016 a trade publication I reported for as a freelance journalist called www.growthcapitlaist.com was the first financial news publication to report Barry Honig and others were under SEC investigation. That trade publication is behind a paywall for paid subscribers. I then rewrote that news here at teribuhl.com with more colorful language because I thought it was critical for the investing public to know the risk of investing in a stock that Honig invest in. Honig sued me but not the original publication that printed the news which was a clear sign this was nothing more than a bully lawsuit meant to intimated a freelance journalist. I have decided to continue my reporting on the Honig ring here where I can control the content but this publication will go through a legal review and have other journalist or editors review the work before I print so that it’s just not one set of eyes fact checking a story. Those reviews cost money which is why your donations are critical. Thank you to all the readers who have supported teribuhl.com this week.