Going Public LLC, which helps companies get listed on stock exchanges, says founder Marvin K. Rowe II has 17 years of investment banking experience, is well known in the industry and can tap a vast network of funding sources.
But Sharesleuth found no mentions of him in Securities and Exchange Commission filings or old new stories, no registrations as a securities broker or investment adviser, not even a home address.
That’s because Going Public’s founder is really Kyle Browning Rowe, the former president of Salomon Grey Financial Corp., a brokerage shut down by regulators in 2006. Rowe was barred from the industry by both the SEC and the National Association of Securities Dealers.
Going Public helps clients gain market listings through so-called “direct filings” or through reverse mergers with publicly traded shell companies.
Sharesleuth discovered that Rowe has been operating as a stock promoter and consultant for the past three years, mostly under the radar. He began using the name Marvin K. Rowe II in the second half of 2008, as Going Public’s activities became more visible.
AN OFFICIAL NAME CHANGE
Rowe asked a San Diego court last December to legally change his name to Marvin Kyle Rowe II. He explained in his petition that he wanted to carry the same name as his father “out of respect and admiration.”
Even though Rowe’s father is actually named Marvin W. Rowe, the court did not question his explanation.
The change took effect Feb. 13.
Irving M. Einhorn, an attorney for Going Public, told Sharesleuth that Rowe is running a clean business and isn’t doing anything wrong by using a different name.
“That’s not fraud,” Einhorn said in a phone interview. He declined to allow Rowe to be interviewed, and said Rowe’s decision to change his name had nothing to do with hiding past regulatory problems.
Those started in 2002, four years after Rowe bought Salomon Grey, which was based in Dallas. The SEC charged Rowe, Salomon Grey and 15 other defendants with scheming to manipulate the shares of a California company called Freedom Surf Inc.
ROWE’S REGULATORY PAST
The SEC alleged that Rowe and a partner at Salomon Grey got shares of Freedom Surf at a 50 percent discount from Allen Z. Wolfson, a recidivist white-collar criminal and one of the architects of the scheme. Salomon Grey sold the shares at inflated prices to its brokerage customers, many of whom later suffered big losses when the market for Freedom Surf’s stock collapsed.
The NASD (now the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) alleged in a separate case that Salomon Grey’s brokers put customers in unsuitable stocks and traded in their accounts without authorization. It also said the firm hired people with extensive disciplinary histories and ongoing regulatory actions to serve as supervisors.
The NASD expelled Salomon Grey in April 2006 and permanently barred Rowe from the industry. Rowe settled the SEC charges that same year. He did not admit wrongdoing, but agreed not to associate with any broker or dealer.
Before Rowe ran Salomon Grey, he worked for a pair of frequently disciplined San Diego-area brokerages, La Jolla Capital Corp. and its successor, Pacific Cortez Securities Inc.
Their operator, Harold Bailey Gallison, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud in 2003, in connection with a stock manipulation scheme that cost investors $2.5 million. Gallison was sentenced to five years in prison.
GOING PUBLIC’S ACTIVITIES
Two companies have filed to go public this year through deals orchestrated by Rowe’s new firm. The first was Omni Ventures Inc. (OTCBB: OMVE.OB), whose shares began trading in February. The second, LIG Assets Inc., is still awaiting SEC approval.
Rowe and others associated with Going Public got millions of shares in those companies in return for their services. The filings for each identified Kyle Rowe as Marvin K. Rowe II.
In addition to getting help with financing and SEC filings, Going Public’s clients get stock promotion services from a company called Parabolic LLC. Rowe registered the Internet domain name for that firm and once was listed in corporation filings as its managing member.
Going Public and Parabolic share the same address and phone number in La Jolla, Calif.
Since we began making inquiries, Going Public has removed the page on its web site that featured biographies of Marvin K. Rowe II and other employees. Parabolic has taken its entire website offline.
Sharesleuth will have more on this story.