The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said on Friday it has charged 10 individuals and 10 associated entities in long-running microcap “pump-and-dump” schemes.
The SEC said that from 2013 to 2018, a group of South Florida-based investors manipulated the share price of stocks in three unidentified companies, generating over $27 million from unlawful sales and leaving retail investors with “virtually worthless stock.”
The SEC named Barry Honig and “Miami biotech billionaire” Phillip Frost among the individuals, saying Honig helped acquire large quantities of company stock and engaged in manipulative activity after taking ownership interests in the companies. OPKO Health Inc (OPK.O) was named among the charged entities. Frost is chairman and CEO of OPKO, a dual listed company traded in Tel Aviv and Wall Street.
Frost served until 2014 as chairman of generic drug giant Teva Pharmaceuticals. Frost joined Teva in 2006 as a board member, after the drug giant bought control of Frost’s company Ivax for $7.4 billion. Frost was appointed board chairman in 2010 in place of long-term chairman Eli Hurvitz, who resigned due to his declining health.
OPKO has been traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange since April 2013, after OPKO Health bought Israeli biomedical company Prolor Biotech. This deal was of interest since Frost held both OPKO and Teva.