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SEC suspends company suspected of fake Hurricane Harvey relief efforts


Hurricane Harvey after touchdown in Houston--Photo by Joseph Earnest


by Joseph Earnest September 22, 2017


Newscast Media HOUSTONThe Securities and Exchange Commission today suspended trading in a company amid questions surrounding its statements about sending response teams and equipment to help with Hurricane Harvey disaster recovery efforts in Houston and surrounding areas.

The SEC’s trading suspension order says that a recent press release issued by Texas-based Grupo Resilient International claimed that the company added a “FEMA approved contractor” to the board of its subsidiary and was deploying workers and preparing to deploy a network of mobile broadband trailers to assist in relief efforts.

The SEC’s order also says there are questions regarding the adequacy and accuracy of statements made by the company on other matters in prior press releases.  Grupo was previously known as Paradise Ridge Hydrocarbons and trades under the ticker symbol GRUI.

Earlier this month, the SEC issued an alert that warned investors to be vigilant for investment scams related to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, noting that scam artists often exploit the latest crisis in the news cycle to lure investors into supposedly promising investment opportunities.

“This is further reminder of the need for vigilance when investing in penny stock companies, especially when they are being touted in connection with humanitarian aid during a natural disaster such as Hurricane Harvey.  Investors are reminded to keep on the lookout for schemes that seek to attract people who are eager to invest with companies that genuinely provide assistance to those in need,” said Stephanie Avakian, Co-Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.

Under the federal securities laws, the SEC can suspend trading in a stock for 10 days and generally prohibit a broker-dealer from soliciting investors to buy or sell the stock again until certain reporting requirements are met.

The SEC appreciates the assistance of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. 

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