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SEC Sues Toks, Charging Fraud in Tender Offers

August 26, 2003|From Bloomberg News and Times Staff Reports

Ade Ogunjobi apparently hasn't given up on his plan to buy the world's biggest companies. And federal regulators haven't given up in their efforts to stop him from trying.

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed suit in federal court in Washington on Monday, accusing Los Angeles-based Ogunjobi and his company, Toks Inc., of offering unregistered "promissory notes" to investors on the company's Web site.

Toks' site sought cash to mount tender offers for "at least 15 of the world's largest corporations," including General Electric Co., Microsoft Corp., Marriott International Inc., AT&T Corp. and News Corp., the SEC said.

The agency's complaint didn't say whether Ogunjobi succeeded in raising any money from outside investors.

Toks has no assets or revenue and thus couldn't consummate a tender offer for a major company, the SEC said.

"Defendants Toks' and Ogunjobi's offering of the notes to the investing public and the materially false and misleading statements contained in the publicly disseminated offering materials operate as a fraud and deceit because they create the false impression that Toks' proposed tender offers are legitimate," the suit said.

Ogunjobi, 43, didn't respond to a phone call to the company seeking comment.

This is the second time authorities have tried to stop Ogunjobi's plans to raise money.

The SEC in January 2002 blocked a first-time stock sale by Toks to raise capital for acquisitions of major companies.

An SEC administrative law judge said the plan was not credible and rejected the filing for a $100,000 initial public stock offering.

In a filing with the SEC in 2001, Ogunjobi described himself as a naturalized U.S. citizen born in London and educated in Nigeria.

He said at the time that he had lived in L.A. for 16 years.

The filing listed no business background but said Ogunjobi had worked toward a bachelor's degree at L.A. City College and that he had been an altar boy.

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