In what may be a sign of maturity for the industry, the Securities and Exchange Commission has sued another marijuana-related business for violating federal securities laws.
Last month, the SEC charged a California-based company and two former executives with a classic pump-and-dump scheme. First, the Commission says, the defendants touted phony revenue to drive up the price of the company’s stock. Then they unloaded their own shares for millions of dollars. According to the complaint, much of the revenue came from a series of sham transactions with a shell company that the executives controlled. So the SEC charged them with fraud as well as offering and selling unregistered securities.
The company and one of the executives have settled the case without admitting or denying liability. The executive agreed to pay more than $12 million, among other penalties.
Meanwhile, the company has turned over a new leaf, so to speak, overhauling its management, business model, and board of directors.
The SEC will continue to scrutinize the market, however, which highlights something cannabis companies should already know: get your ducks in a row, and run your business the right way.
Puff and pass if you want, but don’t pump and dump.