Oil Spill Stock Scams—Don’t Get Cleaned Out by False Cleanup Claims
The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico poses more than an environmental and economic threat to the region. It also poses a financial threat to investors in the form of scams promising financial gains from investments in companies that claim to be involved in cleanup operations.
Millions of dollars are being spent daily on short-term cleanup of the spill, which began in April 2010 with a blowout at an oil-drilling platform off the coast of Louisiana. The cost of long-term remediation remains unknown given the uncertainty about the extent of damage to the environment, the fishing industry and tourism.
The staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission and FINRA are issuing this alert to warn investors about potential scams that exploit the Gulf oil spill and related cleanup efforts. While some of the companies touting their role in the cleanup may be legitimate, others could be bogus operations that are only looking to clean out unsuspecting investors.
In a recent action, on June 22, 2010, the SEC suspended trading in shares of Green Energy Resources, Inc., of New York, NY, because of questions regarding the accuracy of statements by the company in press releases concerning, among other things, the company’s involvement in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill cleanup effort. In another recent action, on May 25, the SEC suspended trading in shares of ACT Clean Technologies Inc., of Huntington Beach, Calif. The Commission took this action because of questions about the accuracy and adequacy of publicly disseminated information concerning, among other things: (1) British Petroleum’s purported expression of interest in using a so-called oil fluidizer technology purportedly licensed to ACT’s wholly-owned subsidiary for use in cleanup operations in the Gulf of Mexico; and (2) the purported results of field tests finding that the oil fluidizers are effective for use in cleanup efforts in the Gulf of Mexico.
Spotting Potential Oil Spill Stock Scams
Some companies may issue press releases, or send unsolicited faxes or spam emails that might include:
How to Avoid Getting Scammed
Here are some tips to avoid potential scams:
If you’re suspicious about an offer or if you think the claims might be exaggerated or misleading, please contact us:
SEC Office of Investor Education and Advocacy
FINRA Complaint Center
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