SEC Charges Attorney with Fraud for Issuing False Legal Opinion in Connection with Illegal Stock Offering
On February 10, 2011, the Commission amended its complaint in SEC v. Greenstone Holdings, Inc., et al., 10 civ. 1302 (S.D.N.Y.), to add as a defendant Virginia K. Sourlis, a securities lawyer. According to the amended complaint, in early 2006, Sourlis intentionally authored a materially false and misleading legal opinion, which Greenstone used to illegally issue millions of shares of stock in unregistered transactions. Among other things, Sourlis falsely described promissory notes, note holders, and communications with those holders, none of which actually existed. The SEC alleges that, contrary to Sourlis’ fraudulent opinion letter, the stock issuance did not qualify for an exemption from registration under the federal securities laws.
The amended complaint alleges that Sourlis violated Sections 5 of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”) and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5 thereunder and aided and abetted defendant Greenstone’s violations of Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The SEC seeks injunctive relief and financial penalties, disgorgement, and a penny stock bar from Sourlis.