Laidlaw & Company Accused of Facilitating Pump and Dump Schemes
The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating investor complaints involving Laidlaw & Company (UK) Ltd. (Laidlaw) customers being recommended certain small cap investments underwritten or otherwise promoted by the firm. According to newsources and public filings Laidlaw has been involved in the fraudulent promotion of numerous small cap stocks to their clients in violation of their duties to their clients to disclose conflicts of interests. These violations also include facilitating pump-and-dump schemes.
Recently, one of Laidlaw's clients, Barry Honig (Honig), was charged by The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for generating $27 million through the unlawful stock sales causing significant harm to retail investors who were left holding virtually worthless stock. The SEC called the fraud a "classic pump-and-dump scheme." The SEC alleged that the fraudulent schemes involved multiple securities and occurred and from 2013 to 2018. The SEC alleged that Honig and his associates engaged in illegal promotional activity and manipulative trading to artificially boost each issuer's stock price and to give the stock the appearance of active trading volume. Honig and his colleagues would acquire large equity positions in exchange for financing a development-stage company's debt.
According to public filings, Laidlaw served as the broker dealer for many of these companies secondary Regulation D offering or structured a Private Investment in a Public Company (PIPE) deal to get shares sold to outside investors. Laidlaw's facilitation of trading created liquidity in the market so Honig could execute his dumping of the stocks. It has been alleged in civil complaint filings and newsources that Laidlaw solicited investors to purchase stocks Honig was selling in order to provide liquidity for the scheme.
Laidlaw referred to these conflicted offerings as "WPGAT Deals" which stands for "We are pretty good at this." Laidlaw's owners formed a company called WPGAT which is listed as a managing director of PPLL Partners LLC. This company purportedly stands for "Pump Pump Loose Loose." As shown in issuer offerings, these entities earn consulting fees from $10,000 to $30,000 a month. These fees are not being disclosed to Laidlaw clients when their brokers recommend these small cap stocks.
The SEC's allegations focus on stocks including BioZone Pharmaceuticals (now Cocrystal Pharma) (COCP), MGT Capital (OTC: MGTI), and MabVax Therapeutics (OTC: MBVX). However, other public filings reveal Honig was also involved in other stocks including Riot Blockchain (RIOT), PolarityTE (PTE formerly COOL), and Marathon Patent Group (MARA). In addition, Laidlaw was involved in other securities offerings including Aethlon Medical, Actinium, Boston Therapeutics, 5G Investment, Alliaqua, Aspen Group, Brazahav Resources, Fusion Telecoms International, Protea Biosciences Group, Aeolus Pharmaceuticals, Medovex Corp, Relmada Therapeutics, Sevion Therapeutics, Spectrascience, and Spherix.
According to newsources, Laidlaw's WPGAT group of brokers may include Richard Michlski, Kevin Wilson, Brian Robertson, Michael Murray, Luke Kottke, Daniel Kuhar, Henry McCormack, Christopher Oppito, Rob Rotunno, Craig Bonn, and John Marinaccio.
Investors who have suffered losses are encouraged to contact us at (800) 810-4262 for consultation. Investors may be able recover their losses through securities arbitration. The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are experienced in representing investors in pump and dump cases and brokerage firms' failure to disclose conflicts of interests to their clients. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.