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The best new website for learning about penny-stock scams.

Melissa Davis, senior editor of The Street Sweeper, poses with celebrity stock picker Jim Cramer after a recent taping of his "Mad Money" television show. Davis worked as an investigative reporter for TheStreet.com, where Cramer serves as chairman, before assuming her current role at The Street Sweeper.

Unilife Corporation: Why this hypodermic needle company keeps jabbing investors

by By Sonya Colberg, Senior Investigative Reporter, 2/27/2014 10:11:07 AM

Pre-filled syringe company Unilife (UNIS) is losing millions and management is handing investors a minus 190 percent return on their money.

But its executives are living like kings.

They can thank the CEO’s brand of showmanship that puts P.T. Barnum to shame and likely contributes to the unwarranted share price that’s hovering around $4.60.

And they can also thank their compensation committee with its laugh-out-loud justification for overpaying the folks running a company that can’t seem to turn a dime in profit.

The lowest paid of the bunch is CEO Alan Shortall - the billiard ball-bald Aussie who practiced pitching Unilife to his ex-girlfriend over a decade ago by promising, according to court records, “You will be a rich woman …” after investing in the company.

Last year, Mr. Shortall received more than $690,000, including the $420,000 base salary and almost $45,000 to buy and maintain a vehicle (compared with $6 million including unrealized stock awards the prior year).

Including hefty bonuses and stock, the other four officers last year received about $1 million apiece.

Even more stunning is what UNIS pays its directors.

Altogether, the directors earned a total of just over $2 million in the last two years. For attending a few meetings.

In that period, the unprofitable company generated just over $8 million in revenue.

So the non-employee directors handed themselves about 25 percent of the company’s revenues.

And new retainer fees and other compensation kicked in last December. Each director’s annual retainer fee alone jumped $10,000 to $35,000. All courtesy of the shareholder-approved pay scale created by the three directors on the compensation committee.

The perks for all directors include an extra 1,000 bucks whenever someone has to travel more than two hours to a meeting.

Additionally, each director will receive 35,000 UNIS shares every year for the next three years. In today’s market, that equates to just about $160,000 extra yearly compensation to directors.

Just for attending a few meetings a year.

*How does UNIS explain this level of self-enrichment?

An entertaining piece of prose gently tucked into the SEC filings tells the tale.



TherapeuticsMD (TXMD): Is it really a $1 billion company?

by By Sonya Colberg, Senior Investigative Reporter, 2/14/2014 10:15:11 AM

Everybody wanted a piece of TherapeuticsMD (NASDAQ:TXMD).

The little pharmaceutical company attracted investors ranging from a “consultant” whose patience paid off in multiples to an ex-football player with both an MBA and a head lice-treatment company.  

Now, three years later, the company stock is booming even though it’s way too early to know whether the vitamin company can ever pull off plans to launch hormone-based drugs for women.

Can it overcome ties to people with a history of securities problems and fallen companies?

Can it overcome huge losses, daunting litigation, and indistinguishable products?

Can it rise above a series of head-scratching business deals?

And can a reverse merger company selling only $2 million in vitamins really be worth almost $1 billion?

INSIDERS SHOULD BE CLAMMERING TO SELL MILLIONS

Here’s the key to a daunting near-term risk. Common sense dictates that as soon as the quiet period ends the first week of March, smart insiders will begin selling some of their stock – about 34 million shares – like crazy.

The stock price is howling near record TXMD highs and they’ve got shares to sell, including a truckload of options and warrants that they can exercise for as little as a quarter apiece.

That stash includes roughly 22 million shares in options and warrants just waiting in line to be cashed in.

JAMN Finally Spills the Beans -- And It's an Ugly Mess

by Janice Shell, 6/2/2011 10:32:51 AM

* Editor's Note: Readers can access links to additional backup documents for this story by clicking here for TheStreetSweeper's original investigative report on this company.

Late Tuesday afternoon, after missing earlier deadlines, Jammin Java (OTC: JAMN.OB) filed a long-awaited annual report packed with enough eye-opening news to keep investors up all night. That mandatory filing, unaccompanied with a cheerful press release heralding its arrival, served as a painful wake-up call to shareholders already burned by a rapid plunge in the company’s stock price.

To be sure, the 10-K offered investors little reason to sing. For starters, the filing reveals, this once-hot “coffee company” sells no coffee of its own at all. JAMN relies on a supplier based in frigid Canada – far away from the tropical Jamaican home of its co-founder Rohan Marley – to provide the company with an actual product to sell to its customers instead.

Back in April of 2010, JAMN inked a “supply and toll agreement” with Canterbury Coffee of British Columbia that gave it access to some brew. According to that agreement, JAMN relies on Canterbury to fulfill every role – save a minor one – normally satisfied by a firm that classifies itself as a coffee company. Canterbury purchases the coffee beans. It roasts them. And it then packages them in bags supplied by JAMN – the company’s only real product – for sale to the public.

JAMN signed this deal more than a year ago, right before Shane Whittle – a notorious Vancouver stock promoter – officially resigned as CEO of the company. But the company never mentioned that agreement, seemingly material enough to warrant at least a quiet 8-K report, in a single regulatory filing until now.   

Jammin Java (JAMN): Hot Stock ... Bitter Aftertaste?

by Janice Shell, 6/2/2011 10:30:25 AM

It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee! That’s exactly what Jammin Java (OTC: JAMN.OB), a heavily promotedcoffee company, and – for very different reasons – TheStreetSweeper would like investors to do.

Since the beginning of the year, JAMN has miraculously risen from the ashes of the “Grey Market” graveyard to become one of the liveliest – and richest – stocks in the entire microcap arena. JAMN has seen its stock shoot straight toward heaven, soaring from 55 cents to peak above $6 a share on massive daily volume, with its market value nowtopping $355 million despite the company’s limited resources and operating history. (As covered in more detail below, two of the Internet tout sheets pushing JAMN the hardest effectively vanished -- disabled by their Internet servers -- on the day the stock’s trading volume exploded past 20 million shares.) 

JAMN stands out for its powerful connections, the first loudly celebrated by the company and the second – involving a notorious stock promoter – carefully hidden from view.


 

CCME: Few Signs of Life at 'Healthy' Chinese Firm

by Roddy Boyd, 3/23/2011 9:30:34 AM

* Editor's Note: This story has been republished with permission from The Financial Investigator. To access the original article, complete with links to back-up documents, click here.

In the maze of thronged and narrow streets that makes up Fujian province’s capital city of Fuzhou, a deft driver, if he’s willing–as all Chinese drivers apparently are–to nearly kill or injure vast numbers of his countrymen can take you to the foot of Dongjie street. There was little reason to be there save for its having the headquarters of a company called China MediaExpress Holdings (Nasdaq: CCME), an enterprise that seems to be able to weather allegations about its business that would have forced the share price collapse of a company five times its size. The attention of bulls and bears is not misplaced: In a mere four years as a public company, it has apparently come to dominate the ad placement market for leading multinational consumer products companies on a network of what it claims is more than 27,000 buses on Chinese airport and intercity routes.

Also, and this cannot be understated, hanging out on a sidewalk in Fujian–the sidewalks double as parking spots when the streets, which appeared to have been designed in the Han Dynasty, fill up–was not a viable option. There was also the matter of the world-class headache the Financial Investigator was developing from Fuzhou’s diabolical smell, an epic conflation of poor sewage treatment, air pollution and the smell of cabbage that made getting the hell off Dongjie street a matter of vital importance.

The Financial Investigator and his traveling companion for the trip, an American investor with extensive experience in China, decided to head upstairs despite our interview with the CFO having been cancelled at the last minute (with no explanation given.) We thought a quick tour of the offices and meeting a few other executives might open our eyes to a few things.

It did.

Though the language barrier was a little steep with the young receptionist–when we asked for writing paper, she provided Kleenex–we were in short order shown to their conference room and told to wait. It did not escape notice that pride of place in the conference room belonged to a framed certificate of participation from the Fall 2010 Rodman & Renshaw conference, the World Cup for reverse merger companies and the pumpers and touts who peddle them.

Eventually chief operating officer James Yu came down and after spending 30 minutes trying to understand who we were, concluded that giving us a tour wouldn’t hurt. Soon enough, his colleague, Vinne Ye–the chairman’s assistant–came out and took us around.

It was most eye-opening.

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CNBC on TheStreetSweeper's coverage of Gold Resource Corporation: (GORO):
"Herb Greenberg comments on Gold Resource Corporation"

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CNBC on TheStreetSweeper's coverage of Miller Energy Resources: (MILL):
"Melissa Davis at TheStreetSweeper … wrote a piece on this thing that obviously scared investors a little bit … It was an excellent reporting job (and) has moved the stock dramatically."

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Herb Greenberg's View (NOG):
"There are questions about related parties … Sometimes companies just don't pass that 'sniff test.'"

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Cramer's View (SWSH): "I wouldn't touch Swisher with a 10-foot PLUNGER!"
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Cramer's View (NOG): "I clearly have been jarred by the accounting issues and feel like, right now, the momentum has left this stock."
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Investors must be properly armed in order to protect themselves against the dangers of Wall Street. To help out, The Street Sweeper has mined the Internet for the most powerful weapons available to investors researching publicly traded companies. In our “Loaded Weapons” section, you’ll find direct links to corporate documents filed with the SEC, conference call transcripts published by Seeking Alpha, insider stock sales tracked by Insider-Monitor.com and popular investment tools offered by Yahoo! Finance. You can also identify the promoters behind current penny stock campaigns – and the compensation they are receiving – by connecting to StockPromoters.com. You can link to other websites that are conducting topnotch stock investigations as well. Click here now.

When investors begin their homework on small-cap companies - particularly on penny stocks - they should probably start with an important history lesson. Specifically, they should conduct background checks on their stockbrokers and the companies those brokers are touting.
 
The Street Sweeper has designed a cheat sheet of sorts to help out with this research. Our “Rap Sheet” section links to a free tool (sponsored by FINRA) that allows ordinary investors to review the backgrounds of individual stockbrokers and their brokerage firms. The section also links to whistleblower cases and class-action lawsuits targeting publicly traded companies. It provides access to recent news of SEC enforcement actions and FBI white-collar crime investigations as well.
click here now.