SEC Charges Fraud in International Sale of Texas Oil and Gas Investments – Seisma Oil Research, LLC


Litigation Release 21562 / June 18, 2010

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Seisma Oil Research, LLC (a/k/a Seisma Energy Research, LLC), Seisma Energy Research, AVV (a/k/a Seisma Oil Research, AVV), Permian Asset Management, AVV and Justin Solomon, Civil Action No. 5:10-CV-95 (NDTX)(June 16, 2010)

SEC Charges Fraud in International Sale of Texas Oil and Gas Investments

On June 16, 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Lubbock Division, alleging that Justin Solomon of Deerfield Beach, Florida, and three affiliated companies fraudulently sold investments in Texas oil and gas projects to overseas investors. The defendants have offered to consent to a preliminary injunction against further fraudulent sales, the repatriation of any remaining investor assets, and other relief.

According to the Commission’s complaint, since 2007, three companies Solomon controls — Seisma Oil Research, LLC of Boca Raton, Florida and two Aruban affiliates, Seisma Energy Research, AVV and Permian Asset Management, AVV (collectively, “Seisma”) — have used high-pressure sales tactics to raise at least $25 million from more than 400 non-U.S. investors through the offer of units in six joint ventures, of which Seisma is the managing venturer. The ventures were supposed to purchase undivided working interest in oil and gas projects owned and operated by two unrelated Texas companies. According to the complaint, however, Seisma never acquired any working interest for two of the six ventures and has expended only $9.5 million of the funds raised toward acquiring interests on behalf of the ventures. The complaint also alleges that Seisma misrepresented or omitted material facts about the profitability and prospects of the oil and gas opportunities.

The Commission’s complaint alleges that Seisma and Solomon violated Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The Commission’s complaint seeks permanent injunctive relief, civil penalties and disgorgement of the proceeds of the fraud, as well as the agreed preliminary injunction, repatriation of all investor funds, an accounting and orders preserving documents.

The Commission acknowledges the assistance of the Financial Services Authority of the United Kingdom; the City of London Police; the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority of Germany; the Ontario Securities Commission; the Nova Scotia Securities Commission; and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, Division of Securities.