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Stratcomm, Exec Told to Repay $45 Million

May 30, 2003|From Reuters

A Florida media and public relations firm and its president, accused of failing to disclose stock sales of companies they were touting, were ordered to pay back nearly $45 million in profits and interest, securities regulators said Thursday.

A federal judge ordered Roberto Veitia, president of Stratcomm Media Ltd., also to pay a civil penalty of $1.4 million and the firm and its two subsidiaries, Corporate Relations Group Inc. and Gulf/Atlantic Publishing Inc., to pay $100,000 in civil penalties.

Veitia and Stratcomm, which publishes MoneyWorld magazine, were among 17 individuals and companies sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission in September 1999 for allegedly failing to adequately disclose their relationship with the companies they were promoting in various publications.

The SEC alleged that from the early 1990s to 1996, Veitia and his companies received large blocks of discounted stock from more than a dozen small client companies to pay for promotions and then sold the stock and failed to register the stock sales with the SEC.

An attorney representing Veitia and the three companies could not be reached for comment.

Under a permanent injunction issued this month by a judge in a federal court in Orlando, Fla., against Veitia and the three companies, they are prohibited from violating any U.S. securities laws in the future.

Jim Kidney, an SEC enforcement attorney, said the nearly $45-million disgorgement includes $25.6 million in profits and $19.3 million interest.

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