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Stung by a steep stock plunge, Silverado CEO Garry Anselmo recently took to the airwaves, appearing in a staged interview with a TV host previously sued by the SEC in a multi-million dollar fraud case involving live goats and goat carcasses – all presumably in an effort to restore confidence in the integrity of Anselmo’s company.
WND’s special investigative report on Silverado Gold was credited by the financial industry and mining analysts as having precipitated a 56 percent plunge in the company’s stock.
Anselmo took his case to “MoneyTV”, an advertorial video service hosted and produced by Donald A. Baillargeon. The CEO paid over $11,000 as part of a “package” to appear on the program several times; most recently, to discuss the stock plunge and his company’s future.
TV host got your goat?
Baillargeon’s “MoneyTV” was a strange choice for Anselmo, given that Baillargeon was one of two officers sued by the SEC in a multi-million dollar micro-cap fraud case.
The SEC charged Peter Norman and Baillargeon touted a company called “Alliance” on the Internet and used Alliance’s website to make materially false representations about businesses in which various Alliance subsidiaries were supposedly engaged, including the cultivation and sale of fast-growing “paulownia” hardwood trees, the breeding and selling of live goats and goat carcasses, and the development of a nationwide chain of chiropractic clinics.
The complaint alleged that, contrary to the representations, Alliance owned no paulownia-tree technology or plantations, did not own or operate a goat business, and was not developing a chain of chiropractic clinics.
Nonetheless, according to the complaint, Norman and Baillargeon projected that Alliance’s various businesses would generate $4.8 billion over a projected ten-year period and that the paulownia-tree business alone would bring Alliance more than $l billion in annual revenue by 2006.
The SEC charged the pair carried out a wide-ranging manipulation of Alliance’s stock from January to November 1996, causing investors to lose millions of dollars.
Baillargeon submitted to a final judgment in the case in January of 2002. The agreement permanently restrained and enjoined him from engaging in fraudulent activities and required him to pay a $10,000 fine. In addition, the court ordered Baillargeon to cooperate with the SEC in its further inquiries into the case, including testifying in all its investigations and judicial proceedings.
Last month, co-defendant Peter H. Norman was found liable for $2.2 million dollars including a $110,000 civil penalty.
An SEC attorney familiar with the case labeled Baillargeon a “fraudster.” “That’s what we call repeat fraud offenders,” he said. “It’s amazing. And that TV show has had so many names.”
“MoneyTV” is described as a weekly syndicated financial TV show. It is part of Emerging Company Report, a promotional service used by Silverado in the past. As WND previously reported, the SEC instituted public cease and desist proceedings against Donald A. Baillargeon, individually and doing business as Emerging Company Report in 1998, for failure to disclose that ECR had received compensation and stock for promoting securities.
Baillargeon received, directly or indirectly, compensation ranging from $2,500 to $17,000 for each guest appearance package sold and did not disclose the amount of money he had received from the issuers to publicize their companies and stock.
Baillargeon subsequently submitted an offer of settlement, which the Commission accepted. The SEC reported, “Without admitting or denying the findings herein, Baillargeon has consented to the entry of this Order Instituting Public Proceedings … and to the imposition of the cease-and-desist order.”
That case was part of the SEC’s first Internet securities fraud sweep. WND recently has learned that the SEC has launched a major new investigation of Internet stock promoters. The investigation has been launched from its San Francisco Pacific Regional office.
The gold miner and the goat keeper
In the staged interview with Anselmo, Baillargeon noted that “gold’s all the rage right now. When we last spoke to you, it was August of last year. In the three or four months following, [Silverado stock] ballooned 550 percent. It was a great success story.” He then commented, “It’s taken a serious hit here in the last couple of weeks. What’s going on?”
Anselmo brushed off the stock plunge and did not mention the WND report, claiming “gold was in a little shakeout here. It’s not long before it takes off in the boom cycle. … [It] hit the stock hard, pushed it right down to the base. … I think they’re scoopin’ it up in the other hand.”
Anselmo added: “It’s not unusual. It’s not nice to see, but that’s what the system allows.” He predicted the stock would be down for a “short time,” then “off we go!”
The site’s bio of Baillargeron states, “Don’s 20+ years of public-relations experience helps companies and guests focus in on the information the audience is looking for.” The SEC’s litigation release concerning the Alliance fraud notes that Baillargeon served as “Alliance’s vice president for marketing and public relations.”
Baillargeon’s name popped up in the media again last month in a Stockwatch.com report that noted his touting of Winsong, a company linked to Edward Durante, described as a Mafia-linked player in the penny stock market.
Interestingly enough, at the bottom of one of Emerging Company Report’s webpages there appears an “ichthus,” known commonly as the “fish” symbol used by Christians as a sign of faith. The symbol is often used by businesses endeavoring to portray themselves as trustworthy to the church community, in hopes of gaining Christians’ business.
MoneyTV’s website is registered to Financial Media Productions Inc. However, emergingcompany.com, a website registered to Donald Baillargeon, is a “mirror” site that also serves as a home Web address for MoneyTV. Financial Media Productions Inc. also owns StreamingAuto.com.
Analysts dump Silverado, float conspiracy theories
Meanwhile, analysts endeavored to explain their previous strong commendation of Silverado stock or sought to now distance themselves from it.
CBS Market Watch published an article by Peter Brimelow called “Foreign stocks OK? If they’re gold mines.” Brimelow, former senior editor of Forbes, unquestioningly reported that the Aden Forecast (published by sisters Pamela and Mary Anne Aden) was recommending Silverado Gold, a Canadian company. The Brimelow article appeared seven days after the WND report and the subsequent stock crash.
In a subsequent interview that appeared in Forbes and Inc.com, the sisters denied they were currently endorsing Silverado: “Despite what was recently reported on CBS MarketWatch , we are NOT currently recommending … Silverado Gold,” they said.
A previous forecast by the Aden sisters, published in the Bull & Bear site, indicated they had earlier endorsed Silverado as a buy, writing, “Continue to keep a 50 percent position in gold, silver and the following gold shares: … Silverado Gold.”
Meanwhile Clive Maund, wrote a rambling piece endeavoring to explain to his investors and readers why he had previously recommended Silverado as “one of the finest smaller mining companies on the face of the planet.”
Maund, a self-described “technical analyst” hailing from Bavaria, had predicted a “big rise” in Silverado stock, telling his readers back in August that this was “the calm before the big one.”
In an August piece, Maund noted that Silverado recently had “run out of puff,” but he assured readers: “It’s going to be different this time around.”
Maund told readers “the subsequent rally will be BIG. … Buy this stock now and sleep soundly (with $ signs on your eyelids).”
A subsequent piece in November 2002 had Maund theorizing, “I believe a big rise in the price of Silverado shares is drawing ever closer. … I last recommended the stock in the middle of August … and although the price has since risen 50 percent, it is actually closer to a really big move than it was then.”
This month, Maund wrote again on Silverado – this time referring to WorldNetDaily’s “bombshell report.” In a piece entitled “A review of the collapse,” Maund was quick to defend his analytical skills though, noting that after his November report, Silverado had risen 68 percent.
‘Unbiased’ financial reports?
Maund then took great pains to tell readers that his reports had always been unbiased and that he had not received payment or compensation of any kind for them , adding, “This means that my recommendations are, have been, and will continue to be completely unbiased.”
Oddly enough, Maund made no reference to the disclosure that appeared at the end of his November Silverado report, stating that he owned “a quantity of this stock.”
More odd still is the fact that Maund proceeded in his article to use vague insinuations to falsely accuse WorldNetDaily of what clearly he himself had done – of having a financial interest in the stock that was being written about.
In an apparent effort to deflect attention from himself, Maund then shifted some blame to Silverado: “It would be of help to hear from the management of Silverado, and they have, to my knowledge, not been forthcoming in their defense. The company damaged those who wanted to support them by issuing a press release saying that they didn’t know why the stock was going down.” [emphasis theirs]
In regards to his own recommendations, Maund offered: “In the future, I will do everything possible to alert you the instant I see something of this nature. I have resolved not to trust any ‘fundamental information’ about any company unless the facts can be established beyond all reasonable doubt.” He added, “I had allowed myself to get drawn into the widespread hype about the company and believed the figures being bandied about. This was clearly naive and led to me being overly bullish on the stock. … However, I did not foresee a cave-in of the magnitude that we have witnessed these past weeks as a result of that bombshell report.”
Perhaps the most important statement of the report, was the last one: “No responsibility can be accepted for losses that may result as a consequence of trading on the basis of this analysis.”
WND report creating high anxiety?
Meanwhile, Tim Wood, North America correspondent for MineWeb, has been zeroing in on LinuxWizardrySystems, finding a possible common link to Silverado, along with a very nervous James Sak: “MineWeb has been tracking the Linux spin machine for a while now, watching the shares rise 300 percent on the slimmest tangible value in its gold property, which it shares with sister company, Teryl Resources.”
Wood went on to report that “James Sak has been linked to the promotion through an outrageous e-mail distributed to newsletter writers earlier this year, but of which he forswears any knowledge. Sak is better known for promoting another Alaskan miner, Silverado, which was recently shredded for its excessive self-promotion by online publication WorldNetDaily.”
Wood reported that an “audibly nervous Sak” denied that the e-mail was written or distributed by him, laying the blame entirely on an “impersonator.” He added, “Sak ascribed his palpable anxiety during the telephone interview to ‘being upset about all the rumors [regarding Silverado]. You know how it is, you work so hard and these people get jealous; I dunno what they are doing.'”
Regarding the initial WND investigative report on Silverado, Wood wrote, “Thankfully, there will be few tears about money lost on Silverado since only ‘wager’ money would have been put into play. It is not demeaning or unreasonable to characterize Silverado as high risk.”
He concluded, “It is only a matter of time before we have the next Bre-X on our hands if these plots are not nipped in the bud.”
Bre-X is commonly believed to be the worst gold scandal ever. Top-tier names in the gold and financial world placed their confidence in the drilling reports of an obscure Canadian company that had never mined an ounce of gold, but reported a potential of billions in profits from its mining property in Busang, Indonesia.
Lehman Brothers Inc. strongly recommended a buy on ”the gold discovery of the century,” and J.P. Morgan bankers pumped Busang in a conference call during which Bre-X officials predicted the deposit could contain a staggering 200 million ounces of gold, worth over $70 billion.
In 1997, Business Week reported that independent experts confirmed that no gold exists at Busang.
Before it was all over, a mysterious fire had destroyed a shack that contained the geologists records and manager Michael de Guzman had flung himself out of a helicopter over the jungles of Borneo.
When rumors circulated that his body was never identified, speculation arose that Guzman had in fact carried out a Houdini-like escape, absconding with the profits of one of the most sensational scams ever.