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by Mike Caswell
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has filed civil fraud charges against a New York touting firm, SeeThruEquity LLC, claiming that it misled investors with inflated stock price targets, among other things. The firm held itself out as offering unbiased recommendations while failing to disclose payments that it received for its efforts, the SEC says. The firm's owners also secretly sold shares in the companies it covered, according to the SEC.
The case comes just one day after the SEC halted Vancouver-linked Vitality Biopharma Inc., one of many companies that SeeThruEquity touted. The SEC cited a potential manipulation at Vitality Biopharma. On the day of the halt, SeeThruEquity had assigned the stock a $3.50 target price. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.) The price would have given Vitality Biopharma a $127-million market capitalization, when it had $182,706 in assets.
The SEC's case is contained in a civil complaint that the regulator filed on Thursday, Nov. 8, in New York. It targets SeeThruEquity and its two founders, brothers Ajay and Amit Tandon. The brothers, 41 and 47, are residents of New York. The younger brother, Ajay, is a former broker and the older one, Amit, is a lawyer.
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