Penny stock fraud: Alleged mastermind Sandy Winick once lived the high life in Toronto – by Madhavi Acharya-Tom Yew (Toronto Star – August 15, 2013)

The Toronto Star has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

Winick’s past includes bankruptcy filings, scrutiny by stock market regulators, and co-founding The Fight Network.

More details are coming to light about one-time Toronto resident Sandy Winick, the alleged mastermind of a worldwide pennystock fraud believed to be on the run in Thailand.

Winick’s track record in business includes bankruptcy filings, a dizzying number of subsidiaries and companies that traded over-the-counter, and co-founding testosterone-laden cable channel Fight Network, which features boxing and mixed martial arts.

Winick, who U.S. authorities alleged this week ran the $140 million fraud ring, also has a taste for the highlife, as can be seen in a Star article profiling his home in 2005.

Winick, an aquarium enthusiast, and his wife Jodi spoke about elaborate plans for one salt water and one fresh water tank in their north Toronto home.

“People find it very calming, and soothing, Winick told the Star. “When we entertain downstairs, everyone sits around it. That is the reason why most people get aquariums, for peace and tranquility.”

Several former business associates of Winick contacted by the Star either didn’t respond to messages, or declined to comment about Winick and the charges against him. Fight Network also wouldn’t comment.

Stock market regulators in Canada and the U.S. have examined allegations of wrong-doing against Winick and delivered default decisions against him when he did not respond.

Last September, Winick was ordered by a judge in a case brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to repay ill-gotten gains of $3.2 million (all figures U.S. dollars) plus civil penalties of $130,000 in connection with Blackout Media Corporation.

The judge in the case found Winick showed “repeated misrepresentations and violations of registration requirements.”
Judge Debra Freeman sided with the SEC, which alleged that Winick created 59 subsidiaries in Blackout for the sole purpose of selling unregistered shares in the companies and pocketing the proceeds.

The companies “had no legitimate business purpose, assets or operations” and Blackout, then known as First Canadian American Holding Company, “failed to provide any legally required financial reporting information for them,” the decision in the case reads.

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