The SEC has charged Christopher Rabalais of Humble, TX, with misleading investors in the the unregistered offer and sale of securities.
Rabalais set up a fantasy stock market, AllSportsMarket (ASM), for sports teams. Players buy and sell ‘stock’ in teams and get paid dividends when the team wins. His stated goal was for ASM to become a regulated exchange and the platform for the offer of sports trading instruments to the investing public.
Between July 2014 and April 2019, Rabalais publicly offered and sold at least 4,800 unregistered share certificates in the holding company of ASM to investors in the US, Canada, Europe and Australia. Rabalais would send solicitation emails that described the shares as ‘gifts issued in exchange for donations of money (usually $250). In practice, the SEC alleges these transactions constituted sales of unregistered securities.
At least $1.4 million raised
Rabalais planned to register the shares with the SEC but never took any steps to do so. Between July 2014 and March 2019, PayPal accounts controlled by Rabalais received $1.3 million. He also received another $122,000 through a US bank account he controlled and $27,000 through a Google Pay account.
Rabalais told investors that their shares could not be transferred until registration with the SEC had occurred.
The SEC is seeking a permanent injunction against Rabalais against selling unregistered securities. It is also seeking disgorgement of all ill-gotten gains.
Past legal troubles
Not mentioned in the SEC complaint is that, back in 2008, Rabalais and ASM were sued by Seth Leon of California who alleged fraud, deceit and false advertising. Leon had invested $31,000 and through a series of trades, eventually accumulated $400,000 in a previous incarnation of ASM. When he attempted to withdraw his funds, he discovered that most of his money was gone. Leon won a default judgement for $379,026 and the California court stated that ‘on its face, it seems to be a clear Ponzi scheme’.
Rabalais filed for personal bankruptcy in 2011 in Texas and attempted to discharge the default judgement. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals held that he couldn’t because the money had been obtained by false pretenses. Rabalais tried to take the case to the Supreme Court, but they declined to hear it.