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Crime Phillip Frost, Miami science museum's namesake, charged with securities fraud

07:50  08 september  2018
07:50  08 september  2018 Source:   miamiherald.com

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Miami Billionaire Phillip Frost , Namesake of Museum , Hit With SEC Fraud Charges . Jerry Iannelli. Miami can't build anything nice without someone getting charged with fraud along the way. Miami Beach pharmaceutical baron Phillip Frost pumped enough money into the new downtown science

Phillip Frost , the founder of Miami -based OPKO Health and the namesake of the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science , was charged Friday with securities fraud . According to the U. S . Securities and Exchange Commission, from 2013 to 2018, Frost and nine other investors

MIAMI, FL - MAY 08:  Phillip Frost attends the Phillip Frost Museum of Science Opening and Dedication Ceremony at Frost Art Museum on May 8, 2017 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Sergi Alexander/WireImage).  (Photo by Sergi Alexander/WireImage)© Sergi Alexander/WireImage MIAMI, FL - MAY 08: Phillip Frost attends the Phillip Frost Museum of Science Opening and Dedication Ceremony at Frost Art Museum on May 8, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Sergi Alexander/WireImage). (Photo by Sergi Alexander/WireImage) Phillip Frost, the founder of Miami-based OPKO Health and the namesake of the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, has been charged with securities fraud.

According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, from 2013 to 2018, Frost and nine other investors manipulated the share price of the stock of three unnamed companies "in classic pump-and-dump schemes." In such schemes, an investor purchases stock, promotes the company without disclosing his ownership interest to inflate its value, and then sells the shares as the value rises.

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Phillip Frost , the founder of OPKO Health and the namesake of the Frost science museum , has been charged with securities fraud . Miami -Dade County Commissioners approved a bailout for the Frost Science Museum in the amount of million during a commission meeting Tuesday, April 5.

MIAMI - South Florida businessman Phillip Frost was among a large group charged Friday with fraudulent stock sales by the Securities and The Frost family donated million to the construction of the science museum , with an additional million for the construction of a planetarium.

Publicly held OPKO Health was also named as a defendant in the SEC's complaint. Trading in shares of the pharmaceutical firm was halted Friday afternoon, but after-hours trading showed an 18 percent decline in OPKO shares.

OPKO released a statement late Friday that said, in part, "OPKO and Dr. Frost have always prided themselves on adhering to the highest standards of financial disclosure, and they are confident that once a proper investigation is completed and the facts of the case have been fully disclosed, the matter will be resolved favorably for them."

Frost, who was born in 1936, allegedly participated in two of the three schemes. According to the complaint, he made at least $1.1 million. Forbes estimates his net worth at $2.6 billion.

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announced that Frost had donated million towards the construction of the new Miami Science Museum building at Bicentennial Park in Downtown Miami , named the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of " Phillip Frost , Miami science museum ' s namesake , charged with securities fraud ".

Miami Billionaire Phillip Frost Pays Large SEC Stock- Fraud Settlement. But this past September, the U. S . Securities and Exchange Commission accused Frost and a cadre of other investors of operating a Miami Billionaire Phillip Frost , Namesake of Museum , Hit With SEC Fraud Charges .

"In every scheme ... some combination of [four others charged] and Frost either explicitly or tacitly agreed to buy, hold or sell their shares in coordination with one another, knowing that a pump and dump was in the offing that would allow them all to profit handsomely," the SEC alleges.

The commission did not name the three companies that were the targets of the schemes.

The SEC named South Florida businessman Barry Honig of Boca Raton as the ringleader of the alleged schemes. The arrangement allegedly involved purchasing stock at steep discounts through shell companies or at terms highly unfavorable to the given company. Then, the SEC says, Honig would coordinate with Frost and others to manipulate coverage and price movement of the stock.

The alleged fraudsters generated more than $27 million from the unlawful stock sales, while causing "significant harm to retail investors who were left holding virtually worthless stock," the SEC said in its release.

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The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science (PPFMOS, formerly known as the Miami Science Museum ) is a science museum , planetarium, and aquarium located in Miami , Florida, US. Originally located in Coconut Grove

Miami billionaire philanthropist Phillip Frost , CEO of pharmaceutical company OPKO Health, settled a civil complaint by the Securities and Exchange Commission that he committed penny stock fraud . Frost , the namesake of Miami ’ s new science museum , and OPKO were charged in September with

Honig could not immediately be reached for comment.

Earlier this year, Honig was the subject of investor scrutiny after he transformed a Colorado biotech company into a blockchain company. That firm, Riot Blockchain, announced it was the subject of an SEC inquiry months after the Wall Street Journal reported Honig had sold out his stake. A defendant named in Friday's complaint, John O'Rourke, is CEO of Riot.

Read the full complaint here.

In its statement released Friday, OPKO wrote, "The SEC failed to provide notice of its intent to sue prior to filing the complaint, which contains serious factual inaccuracies.

"Had the SEC followed its own standard procedures OPKO and Dr. Frost would gladly have provided information that would have answered a number of the SEC's apparent questions, and filing of this lawsuit against them could have been avoided. "

Frost, a medical doctor and serial entrepreneur, and his wife, Patricia, pledged $45 million to open the science museum along Miami's bayfront, including an extra $10 million after the project ran behind. In 2011 he signed the Giving Pledge initiated by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, in which signers promise to give the majority of their wealth to charity.

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South Florida businessman Phillip Frost was among a large group charged Friday with fraudulent stock sales by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

A planetarium, aquarium and science museum in Downtown Miami ’ s Museum Park. Summer Science Weekends: Frost Science is open until 7:30 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday, starting Saturday, June 8 through Sunday, September 1.

In addition to their gift to the science museum, the Frosts have donated millions to the University of Miami, including $100 million to its engineering program. The Frost School of Music is named in his honor, as is the Frost Art Museum at FIU. Last year, Frost was named the most charitable person in all of Florida by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

In response to the news of the SEC filing, the Frost Museum of Science issued a statement to the Miami Herald that read: "We are extremely grateful for the support of Dr. Phillip and Patricia Frost, who are steadfast in their commitment to education, science and technology. Without their dedication, the museum would not be here today."

A Philadelphia native and dermatologist by training, Frost made his wealth by developing and then selling several health-related firms. In 1986, he sold Key Pharmaceuticals to Schering-Plough for $836 million. In 2005, he sold generic drug maker Ivax to Israel-based Teva for $7.6 billion. And in 2011, he sold health group Continucare to Metropolitan Health Networks for $416 million. In each company, Frost was among the largest shareholders.

Frost is also chairman of publicly held investment firm Ladenburg Thalmann. Shares in that firm were down 15 percent Friday in after-hours trading. According to Forbes he has significant holdings in at least 18 other companies.

Other South Florida individuals named in the complaint are:

- John Stetson, born in 1985, of Fort Lauderdale.

- Michael Bauser, born in 1956, of Lighthouse Point. He currently works in an office in Miami in the same building as Frost, according to the SEC.

- John O'Rourke, born in 1985, of Fort Lauderdale. He currently works at an office in Boca Raton with Honig and Stetson, and at times, Mark Groussman, according to the SEC.

- Mark Groussman, born in 1973, of Miami Beach. He occasionally works at an office in Boca Raton with Honig, Stetson and O'Rourke, according to the SEC.

Miami Herald reporter David Smiley contributed to this report.

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