NEW YORK, June 11, 2007 LAWFUEL – The Litigation Newswire — Petitioner’s brief has been filed today by Pomerantz Haudek Block Grossman & Gross LLP in what is considered to be the most important securities issue to reach the Supreme Court in a generation. In StoneRidge Investment Partners LLC v.Charter Communications, et al., Petitioner has alleged that in 2000 Charter was facing a shortfall in anticipated revenue and cash flow relative to Wall Street expectations. To close this gap, Charter agreed to overpay Respondents by a total of $17 million for set-top boxes that it had already agreed to purchase from them at lower prices if Respondents would use the overpayments to “purchase” unwanted advertising from Charter.
To create a false appearance that these transactions were legitimate, Respondents: (i) issued documentation falsely stating that Respondents demanded the price increases because of higher costs; (ii) falsely backdated contracts; and (iii) agreed to “purchase” advertising at four to five times regular rates using Charter’s funds.
According to Petitioner, Respondents understood that the sole purpose of their deceptive conduct was to further the scheme to overstate Charter’s revenue and operating cash flow in financial statements which were filed with the SEC and issued to the investing public.
Petitioner’s brief states that the scheme perpetrated on Charter’s investors could not have been accomplished by Charter acting alone. It required willing participants — not bystanders merely allowing the fraud to occur or facilitating it by non-deceptive conduct, but partners who would perform their own deceptive acts to enable the scheme to achieve its intended purpose. Charter found those partners in Respondents.
Stanley M. Grossman, counsel for Petitioner in the Supreme Court, said that lawsuits on behalf of investors defrauded by such conduct pose no threat to legitimate business people. Sham transactions and fraudulent paper trails do not pass muster under any notion of how legitimate business is to be transacted. Not only do they result in financial losses — sometimes ruinous — for innocent investors, but they corrode and undermine the integrity of our markets, impede effective capital formation and negatively impact the economy.
The scheme with Respondent was the subject of criminal proceedings by the United State Department of Justice (“DOJ”), as well as civil proceedings by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”).
Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 prohibits the use, “directly or indirectly,” of “any manipulative or deceptive device or contrivance in contravention” of SEC rules promulgated pursuant to the section. SEC Rule 10b-5(a) prohibits the employment of “any device, scheme or artifice to defraud” and (c) making it unlawful to “engage in any act, practice or course of business which operates or would operate as a fraud or deceit upon any person.”
Petitioner’s brief is available on http://www.pomerantzlaw.com.
The Pomerantz Firm, which has offices in New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and the San Francisco Bay Area, is acknowledged as one of the premier firms in the areas of corporate, securities, and antitrust class litigation. Founded by the late Abraham L. Pomerantz, known as the dean of the class action bar, the Pomerantz Firm pioneered the field of securities class actions. Today, more than 70 years later, the Pomerantz Firm continues in the tradition he established, fighting for the rights of the victims of securities fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, and corporate misconduct. The Firm has recovered numerous multimillion-dollar damages awards on behalf of class members.