Barred brokerage executive has hidden network of stock promotion sites

Kyle Browning Rowe, a barred brokerage executive who now goes by the name Marvin Kyle Rowe II, has built a maze of financial- and stock-related Internet sites that he uses to promote his companies and clients.

Records show that Rowe controls at least 40 investment-oriented domain names including marketwatchguru.com, earlybirdstocks.com, smallcapstockalerts.com, goingpublicpros.com, parabolicllc.com, e-newsfinancial.com, stocknewsroom.com and ipos2watch.com.

The connections between Rowe, his companies, clients and Web sites aren’t always visible or disclosed. The promotion of a Kansas company called Omni Ventures Inc. (OTCBB: OMVE.OB) is a case in point.

Omni Ventures gained a listing on the Over the Counter market in February through a stock sale and registration orchestrated by Going Public LLC, a San Diego-area company that Rowe founded in 2007. Securities and Exchange Commission filings show that Rowe and others connected to Going Public got just over 12 million of Omni Ventures’ 92.6 million shares.

A FAVORABLE PROFILE

In March, the stock-promotion site MarketWatchGuru.com posted a favorable profile of Omni Ventures. Domain records show that Rowe – the subject of an earlier Sharesleuth report — registered that site, using the same address and phone number as Going Public.

MarketWatchGuru.com said Omni Ventures “is funding 240 apartments, an elaborate water park/family fun center, and a modular home manufacturing facility for the Nambe Pueblo in Santa Fe, New Mexico.” It also said that Omni Ventures — which listed just $2,126 in cash in its latest SEC filing – was working with three Indian tribes on projects worth $170 million.

But Herbert Yates, chief executive of the Nambe Pueblo Development Corp., told Sharesleuth that the apartments, water park and factory have not advanced beyond the proposal stage.  He said the chief executive of Omni Ventures has been trying for two years to raise the money for those projects, without success.

“Come here and break ground, and I’ll believe it’s happening,” he said.

MarketWatchGuru.com said on its disclosure page that it received just over 12 million shares of Omni Ventures’ stock “from an affiliate of Omni Ventures” as compensation for its services. It said it intended to sell those shares.

MarketWatchGuru.com didn’t identify the affiliate. Nor did it file a Form 13D with the SEC, which is required of any individual or group that acquires 5 percent or more of a company’s shares.

Since Omni Ventures went public, its stock has risen from 15 cents a share to the current price of $1.01, although trading has been minimal.

(Disclosure: No one associated with Sharesleuth.com has any investment position, short or long, in the companies mentioned in this story).

ROWE’S REGULATORY PAST

Rowe was president and co-owner of Salomon Grey Financial Corp., which was expelled by the National Association of Securities Dealers (now FINRA) in April 2006. The NASD found, among other things, that Salomon Grey’s brokers put customers in unsuitable stocks and made unauthorized trades in their accounts. It permanently barred Rowe from the industry.

The SEC also barred Rowe after he settled charges that he and Salomon Grey helped manipulate the shares of a California company called Freedom Surf Inc.

Domain records show that Rowe registered the Web site of Parabolic LLC, a stock promotion firm that operates from the same address as Going Public. Corporation records show that he was formerly its managing member.

Parabolic’s Internet domain was registered on March 3, 2006, just four days after Salomon Grey notified the NASD and SEC that it was terminating its registration as a securities broker and dealer.

Sharesleuth noted that Parabolic’s president from 2006 to 2008 was Adam J. Gilman, another barred broker who had served time in prison for his part in a multi-million dollar fraud scheme.

Parabolic and Going Public both list Ralph Spina as a sales executive. Spina has been implicated in the activities of another San Diego-area company that has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from homeowners for mortgage-modification help that it failed to deliver (read about Spina at BailoutSleuth.com).

STOCK PROMOTION SITES

MarketWatchGuru.com and another Rowe-registered site, EarlyBirdStocks.com, have touted the shares of companies that Parabolic LLC was hired to promote. Neither site has publicly disclosed its ties to Parabolic. But a presentation created by Parabolic included stock charts showing the effects of promotional campaigns by EarlyBirdStocks.com “and other proprietary sites.”

MarketWatchGuru.com, EarlyBirdStocks.com and a third site, SmallCapStockAlerts.com, also have featured companies with no apparent ties to Rowe, collecting at least $1.5 million for those reports. The companies currently profiled on the sites include Oncolytics Biotech Inc. (Nasdaq: ONCY), Action Products International Inc. (Nasdaq: APII) and Zi Corp., which also traded on the Nasdaq until it was acquired this month.

MarketWatchGuru also has been promoting Pax Clean Energy Inc. (OTCBB: PXCE.OB). The SEC this week halted the trading in that company’s shares, citing concerns about the lack of current information concerning its securities.

PHANTOM SITES

Rowe also has used some of his other domains to promote Parabolic and Going Public, without ever mentioning their connection to those companies.

For example, E-newsfinancial.com, which appears to have never actually existed beyond its domain registration, issued several press releases about those companies. A release in December 2007 announced an “exclusive deal” in which Parabolic would provide stock promotion services to all of Going Public’s clients.

An earlier release touted the “Parabolic Exclusive Guarantee,” a written promise that Parabolic’s clients would get a minimum number of visitors to a “custom designed” online profile – like the ones posted at EarlyBirdStocks.com and MarketWatchGuru.com. (link to document).

A third release credited to e-newsfinancial.com announced the creation in November 2007 of investorrelationsone.com, calling it “a turn-key uber investor relations/investor awareness hybrid.” The site has no content currently, but is still registered to Marvin K. Rowe II, the name Kyle Rowe now uses.

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