Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger Faces SEC Charges Over Pump-and-Dump Scam Involving Sports Drink Company

18 years after he was immortalized in the movie “Rudy,” Daniel Ruettiger and 12 others now face Securities and Exchange Commission charges. They are accused of misleading investor to get them to purchase stock in Ruettiger’s sports drink company Rudy Nutrition. Their alleged pump-and-dump scam resulted in over $11 million in illicit profits.

To settle the SEC securities charges, Ruettiger has consented to pay $382,866, while 10 of the others agreed to final judgments. By settling, they are not admitting to or denying any wrongdoing.

Per the SEC’s complaint, although Ruettiger’s sports drink company manufactured the drink called Rudy, Rudy Nutrition was actually a way for Ruettiger’s and his alleged co-conspirators to run their financial scheme. The Commission says that penny stock promoter Stephen DeCesare, who was brought in to turn Ruettiger’s company into a publicly traded one, was the main organizer of the pump stock scam. After Rudy Nutrition was given the ticker symbol RUNU, DeCesare and disbarred California attorney Kevin Quinn arranged for nominee entities to get three billion RUNU shares. The entities sold nearly one billion of them to investors through the public market. Other penny stock promoters then joined forces with DeCesare to engage in manipulative trading and fraudulent touting.

The SEC says that promoters involved in the pump-and-dump scam took part in manipulative trading so that Rudy Nutrition’s stock price would artificially inflate. Meantime, investors who were allegedly given misleading statements and false information through press releases about the company, as well as via promotional materials, were sold unregistered shares.

The misleading statements and bogus information were sent to millions via mailers, online chat rooms, and videos posted on the Internet. In less than four week, RUNU was trading 3 million shares (up from 720 shares). Within 14 days RUNU’s stock price went from a quarter to $1.05.

In September 2008, the SEC suspended trading because RUNU was delinquent with its periodic filings. This brought the pump-and-dump scam (the alleged fraudsters were conspiring to put out another two billion shares that they would dump at the end of the month) to a halt. The Commission took back Rudy Nutrition securities’ registration in November 2008.

Other participants slapped with SEC charges:
• Rocky Brandonisio, Rudy Nutrition President • Stephen DeCesare, penny stock promoter • Kevin Quinn, attorney and business consultant • Kevin Kaplan, Rudy Nutrition CFO • Pawl Dynkowski, stock promoter • Mehmet Mustafoglu, Rudy Nutrition consultant • Gregg Mulholland, stock promoter • Joseph Padilla, ex-registered representative at Scottsdale Capital Advisors and stock promoter • Andrea Ritchie, registered representative with Scottsdale Capital Advisers • Gary Yocom, registered representative with Thomas Anthony and Associates • Angelo Panetta, stock promoter • Chad Smanjak, stock promoter
Pump-and-Dump Scams
Usually involves stocks that are promoted and then sold when the price goes up enough due to a rise in interest because of the endorsement. This allows those involved in running the pump and dump scheme to make a significant short-term profit.

SEC Complaint (PDF)

More Blog Posts:

FBI Arrests Texas Leader of Pump-and-Dump Scheme, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, March 23, 2011
Ex-Gilford Securities Broker Indicted in International Stock Fraud Scam Involving Pump and Dump of Israeli and Chinese Securities, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, February 19, 2011
Pump & Dump Scam Alleged in $600 Million Lawsuit Against Law Firm Baker & McKenzie, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, April 13, 2011
Our stockbroker fraud lawyers are very familiar with this type of financial scam. Investors that have suffered losses may be able to get their investment back. Working with an experienced securities law firm increases your chances of recovery. Contact Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas, LTD, LLP