The president and CEO of SMOKEFREE INNOTEC INC (PINK:SFIO) was accused on Thursday with securities fraud as he was allegedly caught in an FBI investigation to be involved in manipulating the penny stocks of his Company.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed suit in Florida against Thomas Schroepfer, or Thomas Schroepfer Baetsen, of Las Vegas. A stock promoter, Charles Fuentes, of Dana Point, Calif., has also been accused with him for being indulged in a fraudulent scheme involving the stock of SmokeFree involving illicit kickbacks and phony agreements.
SmokeFree Innotec Inc. is a Las Vegas company marketing smoke-free cigarettes.
On the very same day, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami separately charged Schroepfer, 54, and Fuentes, 66, with one count of conspiracy to practice securities fraud in a scheme to depriving of by deceiving the investing public by engaging in deceptive and manipulative trading practices in connection with the Company’s stock.
The Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, Robert Khuzami stated that the investors deserve better than secret investment strategies based on kickbacks and bribes.
The SEC informs through the detailed 11-page complaint, that Schroepfer, with the help of Fuentes, paid illegal kickbacks to the FBI agent, posing as a pension fund trustee, in order to influence the trustee to purchase 400,000 restricted shares of SmokeFree stock.
SEC added that Schroepfer tried to hide the kickbacks through a consulting agreement with a fake company created simply to receive the kickbacks.
Shares of SmokeFree Innotec were priced at 3 cents prior to the charges announcement; however it closed trading on Thursday at 1 cent a share on the OTC Market Pink Sheets.
It closed at $0.02 on Tuesday.
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