Alternate Energy Holdings Inc is the subject of a US Department of Justice investigation and the US Securities & Exchange Commission has asked a federal judge to seize the company’s assets.
The company is down to its final 2 million USD and the CEO just resigned.
In 2007 the company received $3.5 billion USD in credit from Cobblestone Financial Group. In 2010 pro-nuclear blogger Rod Adams touted the company as a great investment, declared that he had invested in it and that critics simply didn’t see the true vision of the plan.
By 2010 the company was the subject of a class action lawsuit for running a penny stock scheme where the company artificially inflated the companies stock value in order to dupe investors. The company was accused of falsifying the company’s financial condition and paying stock promoters to fake demand for the company stock. The company settled a $450,000 suit in 2011.
The company talked up a grand plan to build a big nuclear reactor in Idaho and to include small modular reactors in that plan for the site. The Idaho county that eventually gave the company a permit to a plot of land is now being sued for participating in the larger scam. Residents accused the county of aiding the company and that the permit lent legitimacy to what was a stock fraud scam.
In 2011 the company has $7 million in assets frozen over one of the two lawsuits against the company for running a scam. By this time the SEC was saying the company had artificially and illegally inflated the stock price. They also accused the company of wasting millions in an elaborate fraud.
“The SEC also alleged that CEO Don Gillispie and his VP Jennifer Ransom had used the company as a personal fund for expensive cars and other trappings of the rich and famous lifestyle.
The Energy Collective also points out why the company plan was never going to happen.
“There are multiple reasons why the case for construction of a 1,000 MW reactor in Payette, ID, doesn’t add up. There isn’t enough transmission and distribution capability, or market demand, in the region to take the output of the plant. The greenfield site has no infrastructure to support the construction activity.”
The stock peaked in 2010 then tanked in early 2011, but at a point before the Fukushima nuclear disaster. In the midst of the US federal investigation the company’s lawyers have quit. The company owes over $700,000 in legal fees that have gone unpaid to their legal team.
The problem with penny stocks such as Alternate Energy Holdings is they are very high risk and frequently used as a fraud scam. Wikipedia explains it like this:
“Many penny stocks, particularly those that trade for fractions of a cent, are thinly traded. They can become the target of stock promoters and manipulators. These manipulators first purchase large quantities of stock, then artificially inflate the share price through false and misleading positive statements. This is referred to as a “pump and dump” scheme. The pump and dump is a form of microcap stock fraud. In more sophisticated versions of the fraud, individuals or organizations buy millions of shares, then use newsletter websites, chat rooms, stock message boards, press releases, or e-mail blasts to drive up interest in the stock. Very often, the perpetrator will claim to have “inside” information about impending news to persuade the unwitting investor to quickly buy the shares. When buying pressure pushes the share price up, the rise in price entices more people to believe the hype and to buy shares as well. Eventually the manipulators doing the “pumping” end up “dumping” when they sell their holdings. The expanding use of the Internet and personal communication devices has made penny stock scams easier to perpetrate.”
This appears to have been the case with this nuclear company and why it is now being investigated. This all sounds quite familiar to many who find strange promotions all over the internet touting thorium as the world’s best kept secret and next big thing. Many of these will also tell people it is a great investment. Thorium Power, now known as Lightbridge is also a penny stock. Thorium Power has managed to get themselves all over the internet and in the news and have duped many people. The US and Germany both experimented with thorium reactors and determined they posed no benefit over plain uranium reactors and posed far too many problems.
Many start up nuclear companies are touted online as being the next big energy savior. Some of these are ploys for investors or outright investment scams.
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