SEC Obtains Emergency Asset Freeze, Charges Colorado Resident with Fraud Involving Sham Bottling Company
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced it filed charges and obtained an asset freeze and other emergency relief to stop an alleged offering fraud and misappropriation of investor assets orchestrated by Colorado Springs resident Tra Jay Scarlett using two entities under Scarlett’s control, Chatfield PCS Ltd. (Chatfield) and GO ECO Manufacturing, Inc. (GO ECO).
According to the SEC’s complaint, which was filed in federal court in the District of Colorado, since approximately March 2016, Scarlett, through Chatfield, has raised at least $3.2 million from investors in two securities offerings by GO ECO, which was billed as an environmentally-friendly drink bottling and manufacturing company. The complaint alleges that Scarlett and Chatfield told investors that GO ECO made or bottled “the number one protein shot beverage in the world,” that investments in GO ECO would be used to expand the company’s existing business, and that the investments were expected to generate annual returns of 20% to 25%. In fact, according to the complaint, GO ECO never manufactured or bottled any beverages, never opened a bank account, and never operated in any way at all. Instead, the complaint alleges, Scarlett misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars of investor funds to buy, among other things, jewelry and precious metals, and to make a down payment and mortgage payments on his home. The complaint also alleges that the defendants made other false and misleading statements to GO ECO investors about GO ECO’s business operations, management team, and relationship with its supposed key customer.
“We allege that Scarlett lured investors by claiming falsely that GO ECO was a successful, environmentally-friendly bottling company, and then immediately stole those investors’ money,” said Kurt L. Gottschall, Director of the SEC’s Denver Regional Office. “This emergency action is an important step to protect investor assets and prevent further harm.”
The SEC’s complaint, filed on March 3, 2021, and unsealed today, charges the defendants with violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws, and seeks a permanent injunction, disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and a civil penalty from each of them.
The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Kenneth Stalzer, J. Lee Robinson, and Donna B. Walker, and supervised by Ian S. Karpel, Jason J. Burt, and Kurt L. Gottschall. The SEC’s litigation is being led by Zachary T. Carlyle and Kenneth Stalzer, and supervised by Gregory A. Kasper.