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Re: Alinea818 post# 25371

Tuesday, 02/02/2016 3:57:32 AM

Tuesday, February 02, 2016 3:57:32 AM

Post# of 50722
WOW.. how did i miss that.. may explain the dip... even was this found?

Mark Grober AKA GHS CAPITAL LLC & INVESTMENT LLC past job association with THE N.I.R. Group hedge fund founder & Fairhills Capital LLC court cases

Portfolio Manager
Fairhills Capital LLC
Feburary 2009 - April 2011 ( 2 years 3 months )

The NIR Group, LLC
February 2007 - February 2011 ( 2 years 1 month)

(iHub Board dedicated to The NIR GROUP)

According to the SEC complaint, Edward Bronson and E-Lionheart Associates. LLC (also doing business as Fairhills Capital) bought billions of shares of substantially discounted unregistered non-exempt stock from approximately 100 OTC Link (PK) companies and illegally dumped them onto the public market allegedly reaping over $10 million in illegal profits.

Fairhills has also been raided by the FBI:

SEC Charges New York-Based Firm and Owner in Penny Stock Scheme

Mark Grober is asking the Court to believe that he took a $180K/year position with FairHills (Ed Bronson) and was "innocently beguiled" into investing his compensation into Fairhills' schemes.

The Court has so far refused to compensate him, saying that to do so would be to engage the Court in the distribution of "ill-gotten gains", at least until the SEC charges are settled.

At least he's apparently learned his lesson about the registration of shares!

Although to be clear (and please correct me if I'm wrong here) NO SHARES HAVE YET BEEN REGISTERED OR CHANGED HANDS.

The S1 appears to be provisional and is replete with errors. If and when shares DO change hands however, it appears that Grober is entitled to $150,000 worth of FREEBIES as a Commitment Fee!

(Grober vs Bronson) Court Paperwork)

Washington, D.C., Aug. 22, 2012 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a New York-based firm and its owner with conducting a penny stock scheme in which they bought billions of stock shares from small companies and illegally resold those shares in the public market.
The SEC alleges that Edward Bronson and E-Lionheart Associates LLC reaped more than $10 million in unlawful profits from selling shares they bought at deep discounts from approximately 100 penny stock companies. On average, Bronson and E-Lionheart were able to generate sales proceeds that were approximately double the price at which they had acquired the shares. No registration statement was filed or in effect for any of the securities that Bronson and E-Lionheart resold to the investing public, and no valid exemption from the registration requirements of the federal securities laws was available.

“By violating the registration provisions of the securities laws and dumping billions of unregistered shares into the over-the-counter market, Bronson deprived investors of important information about the companies in which they were investing,” said Andrew M. Calamari, Acting Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office.

According to the SEC’s complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Bronson lives in Ossining, N.Y. E-Lionheart, which also does business under the name Fairhills Capital, is located in White Plains. Acting at Bronson’s direction, E-Lionheart personnel systematically “cold called” penny stock companies quoted on the OTC Link to ask if they were interested in obtaining capital. If the company was interested, E-Lionheart personnel would offer to buy stock in the company at a rate that was deeply discounted from the trading price of the company’s stock at that time. Typically, Bronson and E-Lionheart immediately began reselling the shares to the investing public through a broker within days of receiving the shares from the company.

Bronson and E-Lionheart purported to rely on an exemption from registration under Rule 504(b)(1)(iii) of Regulation D, which exempts transactions that are in compliance with certain types of state law exemptions. However, no such state law exemptions were applicable to these transactions. Bronson and E-Lionheart claimed to rely on a Delaware state law registration exemption, but the transactions in fact had little or no connection to the state of Delaware. The particular Delaware state law exemption claimed by Bronson and E-Lionheart is not an exemption that meets the specific requirements of Rule 504(b)(1)(iii). As a result, investors purchasing these shares did not have access to all of the information that a registration statement would have provided, including in many instances important information concerning the issuance of millions of new shares by the company to Bronson and E-Lionheart.

The SEC’s complaint charges E-Lionheart and Bronson with violations of the registration provisions of the federal securities laws, and seeks disgorgement of more than $10 million in ill-gotten gains, penalties. The SEC also seeks penny stock bars against E-Lionheart and Bronson. The complaint also names another entity owned and controlled by Bronson – Fairhills Capital Inc. – as a relief defendant for the purpose of recovering the illegal proceeds it received.

The SEC’s investigation was conducted in the SEC’s New York Regional Office by Senior Attorney William Edwards and Assistant Regional Director Wendy B. Tepperman. The SEC’s litigation will be led by Senior Trial Counsel Kevin McGrath.

SEC knew Collecting $14.5 mn Hedgie Ribotsky fine Would Fail

N.I.R. Group hedge fund founder, Corey Ribotsky, filed for personal bankruptcy leaving a whopping $36 million of debt unpaid a year after he settled with the SEC for investor fraud. Today I am reporting for Growth Capitalist that court records allude to the notion that the government knew Ribotsky wouldn’t be able to pay his multi-million dollar fine when they backed down from taking him to trial and agreed to a settlement in 2013.

Long Island-native Corey Ribotsky ran a hedge fund that mainly invested in PIPE’s for over a decade. These are private interest bearing loans made to small cap companies that turn into discounted stock warrants if the borrow can’t payback the loan in a certain amount of time. To simplify what usually happened in N.I.R. Group PIPE transactions the borrow usually doesn’t pay back the loan and the hedge fund gets cheap stock they can sell for cash on the open market which can drag down the price of a small cap stock to unsuspecting penny stock investors. Ribotsky raised hundreds of millions of dollars from upper middle class investors that he met via his charity work, a north shore country club or through introducing brokers.

I began investigating Ribotsky for investor fraud in 2008 while reporting for the New York Post. It took the SEC until September 2011 to finally sue the hedge fund manager for securities violations & investor fraud. By the time the SEC sued, investors in N.I.R.’s once $800 million hedge fund had lost their money, and Ribotsky continued to earn millions in fees managing and unwinding a fund whose valuations were allegedly inflated.

Between investigative reporters documenting Ribotsky threatening & lying to investors, along with internal whistleblowers, the government’s case against Ribotsky was built for them before they sued. Yet at the end of the day we only saw the Securities and Exchange Commission bar Ribotsky from the industry for only four years and collect zilch from him to return to investors.

It wasn’t till three years after the securities regulator sued Ribotsky for stealing millions from his investors that we learn the government is having an impossible time collecting any money to return to N.I.R. Group investors.

On November 13 2014, SEC attorney Kenneth Byrne wrote Judge Bianco the Commission had started “collection proceedings against Ribotsky that included discovery of his income and asset”. The government never got Ribotsky to admit guilt and his lawyer Doug Hirsch told the court the SEC knew before they settled the case in November 2013 that Ribotsky didn’t have anywhere near the assets or earning potential to pay the amount the SEC wanted in a fine (See Attorney Hirsch letter below). Bankruptcy records show Ribotsky stopped making mortgage payments on his $6.8 million loan to Signature Bank in September 2012, which was secured by his family home at 11 Bostwick Lane, Old Westbury, NY. The property is in a llc called ZFL and listed as an asset owned 100% by Ribotsky. Additionally, court records show $549,321.48 in town property and school taxes have not been paid on the home dating back to 2011. On July 19th 2013, months before the SEC settlement, Signature Bank started foreclosure proceedings in Nassau County court against the home. Total debt owed by ZFL to Signature bank is now $7,203,277.78. Any SEC collection efforts would be behind Signature Bank who has a secured claim on one of Ribotsky’s largest assets. A recent order by Ribotsky’s bankruptcy judge shows Signature Bank, who claims they were close to finishing the foreclosure right before Ribotsky filed bankruptcy, will be allowed to move forward with their case and collect funds from a foreclosure auction.

Ribotsky also had ownership interest in another home, 317 Bedford Ave Bellmore NY, which is also held in a LLC. Court filings show Ribotsky testified in a bankruptcy hearing he transferred 50% of his interest in 317 Bedford to Howard Tanney at no consideration. A 2004 bankruptcy exam has been ordered against Howard Tanney to prove Ribotsky did not commit fraudulent conveyance via the home interest transfer.

The government watched reporters like myself, Matt Goldstein, and Nathan Vardi for four years detail Ribotsky’s fraud via on record sources and documents, but only managed to make one criminal arrest of Ribotsky’s right hand guy Daryl Dworkin. In 2010 Dworkin quickly turned DOJ government whistleblower and plead guilty to taking bribes while working at N.I.R. group. The fund was eventually forced into an outside receiver (PwC) taking over in the Cayman Islands who was given some decent access to a document trail of fraud allegedly committed by Ribotsky.

The SEC could have at least deposed Daryl Dworkin in their case, as court filings in SEC v. Ribotsky show the DOJ’s deal with him was he had to testify for the SEC. But the government settled right before the deposition was going to happen. Dworkin’s testimony would have at least helped investors learn what he was telling the DOJ about Ribotsky’s role in the fraud, which could have aided any investor civil suits against the hedge fund manager.

At a sentencing hearing I attended for N.I.R. Group executive Daryl Dworkin on November 5 2014 the DOJ had to admit to federal Judge Dearie they didn’t charge Ribotsky with criminal fraud because they didn’t think they had enough evidence to convict him. For four years the DOJ delayed Dworkin’s sentencing while they worked him for information against Ribotsky.

A month after the Dworkin sentencing Ribotsky finally tells his version of what he did with some of the millions he took from his investors via his chapter seven federal bankruptcy filing. The December 17 2014 bankruptcy shows he’s been sued numerous times but never paid up on judgments rendered by the court. Interest and stock in financial companies Ribotsky owned were primarily transferred to another top N.I.R. Group executive Robert ‘Bobby’ Cohen. The bankruptcy court has ordered Cohen to go through a 2004 examination of some of the transferred stock. Additionally, Christopher Machton of Great Neck NY, who got a $300,000 loan from Ribotsky has been given a 2004 exam subpoena from the bankruptcy court to prove he got the funds and how they were used.

“The government is suing him and he simply moved money around so he didn’t have to pay fines”, is what one Boston-based N.I.R. Group Investor told me after he read Ribotsky’s bankruptcy documents. In fact, in 2012 Ribotsky says in court filings he still made $1.2 million. That was the year he was getting kicked out of his fund, fighting a SEC lawsuit, and investors learned via the receiver the hedge fund assets were super hard to sell and illiquid. Meaning there wasn’t a ton of hope of getting their hard earned dollars back from the hedge fund.

The case was a complete failure by Loretta Lynch’s office (the black woman Obama has put up to be the next head of the DOJ) and an abysmal victory by the SEC – who at least got Ribotsky to agree to stop committing fraud for a few years.

At Dworkin’s sentencing hearing in Brooklyn, NY I got to see how the DOJ and SEC lawyers acted in this case. I was surprised by their egos given how little they accomplished. Government lawyers told Judge Dearie they were working hard to recover money for investors but they simply haven’t been able to do it. After the hearing I cornered SEC attorney Kenneth Byrne and a little man with horn rimmed glasses who was running the DOJ case to ask them face to face how they felt about their inability to get justice for investors and collect any money. DOJ attorney Daniel A. Spector scowled at my question and instead of answering it demanded to know my name and who I report for. I said my name was Teri Buhl and you should clearly know who I report for now. (Spector’s predecessor who started the NIR Group case had interviewed me in 2009 to get help finding NIR investors Ribotsky had lied to so I know the DOJ had been reading my reporting.) Attorney Spector’s ego kicked in and gave me a smug look saying they can’t comment on the case except what I heard them say in court. Now after a case is over the DOJ can comment and usually issues a press release. But in this case the PR girl for the DOJ admitted since there was no jail time for Dworkin there wouldn’t be a public comment. Meaning they didn’t want to promote a case that got so little for investors.

As I watched the SEC attorney and the DOJ boys leave the court room and slink into the elevator I did something I rarely do when asking subjects of a story questions. I asserted my opinion. I looked them both in the eye and said, “You should be ashamed of yourself for not doing more for the defrauded investors. You had this case handed to you an a platter.”

Attorney Spector’s rebuttal was silence and later in the day he refused to get his press person to answer how much Dworkin was ordered by the judge to pay in a forfeiture bond. The bond was ordered in court but the amount was not mentioned. This was public record and they had to answer my reporter question. Instead they stonewalled me and we had to wait a few days to print the news of Dworkin’s sentencing at Growth Capitalist until all the court documents from the hearing were filed online. Dworkin received NO jail time, no penalty fine for his three felony convictions, and only a forfeiture bond to give back the $400,000 he had taken in bribes to bring PIPE deals to N.I.R. Group. And to this day we don’t know if the government will even collect that from him given he can’t earn big money working on Wall Street any more and he told the court his home is in foreclosure.

For those of you familiar with Ribotsky I have uploaded a copy of his unsecured creditors. Tom Sporkin, securities attorney at Buckley Sandler who was a former SEC enforcement lawyer, told me it is very hard to get a bankruptcy court to forgive a government fine so Ribotsky will technically still be liable for the $14.5 million the SEC is supposed to extract from him. But chances of that happening are zero to none in my view. I’d expect Ribotsky to end up moving to the Cayman Islands. A place one of his former best friends told me he often took a private jet to and visited an off-shore bank; after he’s done telling an American bankruptcy court he has no money to pay $36 million back.

SEC Charges Firm with Illegal Fund Raising for Penny Stock Companies

We recently came across a litigation release where the SEC charged a firm with illegal fund raising for penny stock companies. This turns out to be one of those rare situations where you have to ask yourself, what took the SEC so long? I very quickly recognized the name Edward Bronson, and his firm E-Lionheart Associates, LLC., which was also doing business under the name Fairhills Capital, Inc.

I meet Edward Bronson in the summer of 2006 when Coral Capital Partners was consulting for a biodiesel company that was looking for an investment banking firm to represent it. We were in New York meeting with several investment banking firms. One of the firms that the CEO of the biodiesel company wanted to meet with was Edward Bronson’s firm. I had heard of Mr. Bronson before and it was pretty easy to figure out at the time that he was engaging in toxic fundings. A quick look at the charts of the companies that Edward Bronson had been involved with showed that they all basically had some form of an inverted parabolic curve where their share prices very quickly headed towards zero. At some point in time prior to our meeting in 2006, another client had asked Coral Capital Partners to review an agreement for a proposed funding by Ed Bronson’s firm. It was not hard to see that the funding agreement was for a toxic funding, as any convertible instrument that converts at a discount to the market price with no minimum price level of conversion is toxic to the client company.

The meeting with Edward Bronson was notable for a variety of reasons. We meet Mr. Bronson at a fairly sizable office in Midtown Manhattan that was fully furnished, dark, and had no one in it but us. For someone who claimed to be a major provider of funding to small cap companies, he was remarkably poorly dressed. Despite being a late morning or early afternoon meeting he looked like he had just rolled out of bed. His clothing was rather disheveled; I remember he had on a warn leather coat and it was early summer. Worse yet his socks were not even close to matching. He had on one bright red sock, and one bright green sock. His firm was not a NASD (the predecessor to FINRA) member. Basically there were red flags all over the place. What I remember about the conversation is that it quickly became very clear that what Mr. Bronson was proposing was a toxic funding. When the CEO of the biodiesel company asked about dilution and loss of control, Edward Bronson suggested a preferred stock issuance with super-voting rights. Needless to say, this structure would have destroyed the investment of all the prior investors in the company. This was not something I ever wanted to be any part of, or ever associated with.

Over the course of the next six (6) years clients would occasionally ask Coral Capital to review agreements for proposed fundings from Fairhills Capital. It did not take much to figure out what the results would be for companies that participated in funding with Fairhills Capital. A search of the EDGAR filings would easily turn up a list of companies that had worked with Fairhills Capital, and the results in the public markets were always disastrous.

The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged Mr. Bronson and his firm e-Lionheart Associates, LLC. with Violations of Sections 5( a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act, as well as the common law claim of Unjust Enrichment. What I find interesting about the complaint is its brevity, or shortness. While Section 5 of the Securities Act is a very broad section, I am surprised at the absence of claims for violations of other sections of either the Securities Act of 1933 or the Exchange Act of 1934. The complaint by the SEC alleges that Mr. Bronson’s firm fraudulently used an exemption under Rule 504 of Regulation D to obtain free trading shares with the help of various attorneys who supplied inaccurate legal opinion letters. Why haven’t these attorneys been charged? Are they not supposed to be the gate keepers who keep people from committing wrong doings by virtue of there review of legal statutes and the opinions they issue? The SEC must be pretty sure that it has an iron-clad case against Ed Bronson and his firms.

We wish the SEC a lot of luck in pursuing this litigation. However we are skeptical about the SEC’s ability to shut down this activity until it takes aggressive action against the attorneys who are writing these fraudulent legal opinion letters that allow the restrictions to be removed on the shares issued in violation of Rule 144.

If you have any questions about the above blog post, please feel free to visit our web site, and check out we have to offer. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We can be reached at 404-816-9220 and are always willing to speak with you.

About Coral Capital Partners

Coral Capital Partners is an independent consulting and advisory firm focused on companies and participants in the lower and middle markets. We partner with our clients to provide cost effective solutions to real world issues and situations. Our experienced team brings a diverse set of skills that allows us to service a wide variety of needs. Our area of services and expertise focuses on bringing services and solutions to our clients that are normally only available to much larger firms. Coral Capital Partners, Inc. provides services to Investment Banks, Private Equity Funds, investors, and both privately held and publicly traded companies, as well as various stakeholders in those organizations. This has included international public companies with operations on three (3) continents to smaller privately held domestic companies. Our experience in the areas of corporate advisory, due diligence reviews, and regulatory compliance allows for a cost effective and efficient solution to the issues at hand. Please feel free to contact our offices to see how we may be of assistance.

A copy of the SEC’s Litigation Release can be found at:

A copy of the SEC’s complaint in this action can be viewed at:

We do applaud the SEC’s efforts to police this type of activity.

Tags: Capital Raise Due diligence Edward Bronson SEC Litigation Securities Act of 1933 Securities Fraud toxic funding


Litigation Release No. 22873 / November 21, 2013

Securities and Exchange Commission v. The NIR Group, LLC, et al., Civil Action No. 11 Civ. 4723 (JFB) (E.D.N.Y.)

Court Enters Final Judgment by Consent Against SEC Defendant Corey Ribotsky

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced that, on November 14, 2013 the Honorable Joseph F. Bianco, United States District Court Judge for the Eastern District of New York, entered a final judgment by consent against Defendant Corey Ribotsky. In addition, Judge Bianco also dismissed all claims against Defendant The NIR Group, LLC at the SEC's request because that entity is defunct and has no assets.

The SEC filed this enforcement action on September 28, 2011, alleging, among other things, that during the financial crisis Ribotsky and NIR made false statements to investors regarding the poor performance and trading strategy of the various AJW Funds he managed through NIR. The SEC also alleged that Ribotsky misappropriated client assets and mislead investors about the decision to form the AJW Master Fund.

Ribotsky consented to the final judgments without admitting or denying the allegations in the Commission's complaint. The final judgment against Ribotsky imposed permanent injunctions prohibiting Ribotsky from violating Section 17(a)(1), (2) and (3) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and Sections 206(1), 206(2) and 206(4) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and Rule 206(4)-8 thereunder. Ribotsky has also agreed to pay $12,500,000 in disgorgement, $1,000,000 in prejudgment interest, and a $1,000,000 civil penalty.

To settle the Commission's related administrative proceedings that the Commission will separately institute, Ribotsky has consented to be barred from any future association with any broker, dealer, investment adviser, municipal securities dealer, municipal advisor, transfer agent, or nationally recognized statistical rating organization, with the right to reapply after four years.

For further information, please see Litigation Release Number 22106 (Sept. 28, 2011).

Ex-NIR Analyst Avoids Prison As Judge Presses For Recovery

Law360, New York (November 5, 2014, 2:06 PM ET) -- A former NIR Group LLC analyst who admitted to fraud and taking kickbacks while at the defunct investment firm, but who has cooperated with investigators, avoided prison Wednesday in Brooklyn federal court, though the sentencing judge expressed frustration that millions of dollars connected to the crimes remain "in the ether."

Daryl Dworkin, who said he has been working as a bartender, cab driver and salesman since his career in financial services went down in flames and whose house is in foreclosure, received three years' probation from...
Ribotsky out as head of NIR Group hedge funds

Corey Ribotsky is officially out as investment manager of hedge funds at Roslyn-based NIR Group. And now investors in the group of funds once valued at $876 million have renewed hope of recovering some of their massive losses.
Or at least finding out where the money went.
Ribotsky was forced out of NIR by Pricewaterhouse-Coopers, the court-appointed liquidator, following allegations of fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission. In September, the SEC sued Ribotsky and NIR for taking more than $1 million of investors’ money to buy cars and watches. The SEC also alleges that Ribotsky and others at the firm repeatedly lied to investors about the true value of the fund to hide the fact the fund’s investment strategy was failing during the financial crisis.

Related stories
Marcum ready to defend negligence suit
Ribotsky out as head of NIR Group hedge funds
SEC charges LI hedge fund adviser with fraud

Ribotsky has not been charged with any criminal wrongdoing and still runs NIR Group, according to a company spokesman, although he couldn’t say what investment vehicles are left for Ribotsky to run.
The Ribotsky ouster is a victory for hundreds of mom-and-pop investors who put retirement savings or pension funds in NIR and have been left in the dark about the value of their assets since the company’s last performance report a year ago.

Jim Nail, an NIR investor who stands to lose about $350,000 in one of the group’s hedge funds, called Ribotsky’s resignation “the best news we’ve heard since he froze our money in the fall of 2008.”
Ribotsky halted redemptions from the fund after the collapse of AIG and Lehman Brothers led a flurry of investors to seek to liquidate their positions.

“Now, hopefully, we’ll get some real transparency about the value of the assets in the fund,” Nail said, “but I’m not optimistic there is much money left to recover.”

PwC’s initial cash flow reports show Ribotsky’s firm charged at least $52 million in fees and expenses for running the funds since the fall of 2008, although the investments did not provide a meaningful return during that time. PwC wrote that since the cash-out freeze, NIR charged $24.5 million in management fees and another $1.5 million in general administrative expenses. Most hedge funds take expenses, like rent and staff salaries, out of the 2 percent management fees charged to investors, but it appears Ribotsky billed extra for that.

Ribotsky also owns a collateral management firm called First Street that billed investors another $25.83 million in management fees and listed those fees as a creditor’s claim. There is also a creditor’s claim on the funds of $1.77 million listed as an “introducing fee” to Crawford Ventures Inc., a Manhattan-based investment partnership.

NIR spokesman Brad Gerstman said he couldn’t verify the liquidator’s numbers.
“We do not confirm nor deny them as we have not independently verified same,” he said. PwC’s letter states the liquidators got the numbers from NIR’s books after NIR provided access to them. Some of the numbers, such as the $14 million of investor funds spent on legal fees, were self-reported by NIR to the liquidators.

In a December letter to investors, PwC warned that NIR had only about $130,000 of cash for liquidation expenses, and that the accounting firm may need to sell off assets at discounted prices to raise cash to cover liquidating costs. At the time of the letter, NIR Group was seeking $320,000 a month as acting manager of the funds, although those charges have been avoided by the PwC takeover.
Rick Felsen, another Long Island investor, expressed frustration over NIR’s fees, especially in light of its investment performance and alleged fraud.

“I know I signed an operating agreement that put Ribotsky in favor of making decisions about my investments, but it didn’t give him the license to break his fiduciary duties or a reason to commit fraud,” Felsen said. “I paid exorbitant fees on my paper profits, and now I have nothing to show for my money. I hope justice is served on him because I can’t afford now to sue him and likely lost all of my investment.”
Reports of a Department of Justice investigation of Ribotsky began in 2009 after investor Sequoia Sun told the online publication Dealbreaker that NIR had tried to bribe him in 2008 when he wanted to share his story about problems in the fund with the New York Post. Redemption records show Sun had requested his money before the freeze but was told it was too late. Sun eventually sold his $345,000 investment to another investor at a discount, which was arranged by NIR.

The Department of Justice has repeatedly delayed the sentencing of Ribotsky’s former right-hand man, Daryl Dworkin, who pled guilty to securities fraud and taking bribes for NIR’s investments in July 2010. The new sentencing date is July 2012.

Buhl has written for the New York Post, the

I remain positive... no time will be given to negativity... don't waste time on negative forces, move on or remain positive! -doebop