NEW YORK– LAWFUEL – The Class Actions Lawsuit –Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP (“Lerach Coughlin”) (http://www.lerachlaw.com/cases/optionable/) today announced that a class action lawsuit has been commenced in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of purchasers of Optionable Inc. (“Optionable” or the “Company”) (OTCBB: OPBL) who purchased the publicly traded securities of Optionable between September 27, 2005 and May 14, 2007, inclusive (the “Class Period”), seeking to pursue remedies under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”).
If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no later than July 10, 2007. If you wish to discuss this action or have any questions concerning this notice or your rights or interests, please contact plaintiff’s counsel, Samuel H. Rudman or David A. Rosenfeld of Lerach Coughlin at 800/449-4900 or 619/231-1058 or via e-mail at [email protected] If you are a member of this class, you can view a copy of the complaint as filed or join this class action online at http://www.lerachlaw.com/cases/optionable/. Any member of the purported class may move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff through counsel of their choice, or may choose to do nothing and remain an absent class member.
The complaint charges Optionable and certain of its officers and directors with violations of the Exchange Act. The Company provides services for the brokerage of energy derivatives to brokerage firms, financial institutions, energy traders, and hedge funds in the United States.
The complaint alleges that throughout the Company’s history, Optionable understated its dependence on BMO Financial Group (“BMO”), also known as Bank of Montreal. BMO’s business with Optionable increased when prices in natural gas options rose following Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. In its latest quarterly report, Optionable stated that BMO accounted for approximately 30% of its revenues during the three-month period ended March 31, 2007. Moreover, the Company failed to tell investors that its business with BMO was tied intimately to David Lee (“Lee”), a natural gas trader at BMO. Unbeknownst to investors, Lee had a close personal relationship with executives at Optionable, including Kevin Cassidy (“Cassidy”), the Company’s Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”). According to reports, Lee’s trading alone in the first quarter of 2007 amounted to $2.73 million, or 30 % of Optionable’s revenue.
On April 27, 2007, when BMO announced that its mark-to-market commodity trading losses were estimated to be between $350 million and $450 million (pre-tax) in the second quarter of 2007, shares of the Company’s stock fell $1.45 per share, or almost 21%, to close at $5.56 per share after investors recognized that BMO accounted for at least 24% of the Company’s revenues in 2006.
On May 8, 2007, when BMO announced that it was suspending all of its business relationships with Optionable pending the results of a full external review and placed Lee and Bob Moore, executive managing director of commodity products at BMO, on leaves of absence, the price of Optionable stock declined precipitously, falling from $4.64 per share to $2.81 per share – a decline of approximately 40% – on heavy trading volume. According to reports, BMO contributed its mark-to-market commodity trading losses to bad trading strategies employed by Lee. Moreover, BMO was concerned with the quality of valuations provided by Optionable to BMO and Lee being able to do all of his business through one broker.
Shares of the Company’s stock continued to decline as investors learned that: (i) NYMEX Holdings, Inc. (“NYMEX”) had resigned its board representation of Optionable; (ii) Cassidy had resigned as Chairman and CEO; and (iii) Cassidy served time in prison for a felony conviction on credit card fraud in 1997 and for income tax evasion in 1993. Prior to disclosing these adverse facts, Cassidy, Edward J. O’Connor, President of Optionable, and Mark Nordlicht, Chairman of the Board and a founder of Optionable, were able to sell 10,758,886 shares of their personally held Optionable stock to NYMEX for gross proceeds in excess of $28 million.
Plaintiff seeks to recover damages on behalf of all those who purchased the publicly traded securities of Optionable between September 27, 2005 to May 14, 2007. The plaintiff is represented by Lerach Coughlin, which has expertise in prosecuting investor class actions and extensive experience in actions involving financial fraud.
Lerach Coughlin, a 180-lawyer firm with offices in San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Boca Raton, Washington, D.C., Houston, Philadelphia and Seattle, is active in major litigations pending in federal and state courts throughout the United States and has taken a leading role in many important actions on behalf of defrauded investors, consumers, and companies, as well as victims of human rights violations. Lerach Coughlin lawyers have been responsible for more than $20 billion in aggregate recoveries. The Lerach Coughlin Web site (http://www.lerachlaw.com) has more information about the firm.