Washington D.C., Dec. 10, 2019 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it has obtained a temporary restraining order and asset freeze against a California solar panel company and three executives who allegedly defrauded more than 100 investors.
According to the SEC’s complaint, Nanotech Engineering Inc., CFO Michael James Sweaney, also known as Michael Hatton, CEO David Sweaney, and COO Jeffery Gange have been engaged in an ongoing fraudulent offering of Nanotech’s securities. While raising capital purportedly to fund Nanotech’s development of solar panels using nanotechnology, the defendants allegedly diverted more than $2.4 million of investor funds for personal expenses, including luxury vehicles, a yacht named the Bella Vita, and cosmetic surgery. The complaint also alleges that the defendants are actively concealing from investors Michael Sweaney’s prior felony securities fraud conviction.
“The SEC acted quickly to stop what we allege is an egregious fraud,” said Antonia Chion, Associate Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “The emergency relief we obtained on behalf of investors prevents the dissipation of the defendants’ assets.”
The SEC’s complaint, filed in federal court in the District of Columbia on Dec. 5 and unsealed on Dec. 9, charges Nanotech Engineering and the three executives with violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws and seeks emergency relief as well as permanent injunctions, return of allegedly ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest, and civil penalties. The complaint also names entities controlled by the defendants, Nanotech Finance LLC, Omni Golf LLC, and 3 Dragons LLC, as relief defendants.
The SEC’s investigation, which is ongoing, is being conducted by Pei Chung with assistance from Jeffrey Anderson and Elizabeth Doisy. The case has been supervised by Deborah A. Tarasevich and Ms. Chion. The litigation will be led by Gregory Bockin and Christopher Bruckmann, under the supervision of Stephan Schlegelmilch.