Reverse Mergers

Institutional Memory III – MLRE, NURC, AIME, XWC

As part of our ongoing Institutional Memory series, here is another great piece by Christopher Byron, originally appearing on Bloomberg in August 2000. Abe Salaman makes an appearance, as does Yiddy Bloom. Is No Blue-Blood Company: Christopher Byron
8/16/00 (New York)

(Commentary. Christopher Byron is a columnist for Bloomberg
News. The opinions expressed are his own.)

Weston, Connecticut, Aug. 16 (Bloomberg) — Everyone knows
it’s great to be a millionaire. But forget about Regis Philbin
for a minute and just think instead about how much greater your
life would be if you could celebrate your seven-digit financial
status by owning a magazine devoted exclusively to the greatness
of millionaire-dom itself.
Impossible? Well, a mere $5.26 million looks to be the
current going price for exactly that opportunity — to see your
name at the top of the masthead, as owner, editor, publisher, or
whatever you might want to call yourself, of what else but
Millionaire magazine.
Does that sound like a deal to you? Since Millionaire
magazine happens to be owned by a company calling itself, whose 8.76 million shares outstanding are
currently selling for 60 cents each on Nasdaq’s OTC Bulletin
Board market, the prize would appear to be within the grasp of
the lowliest wretch clinging to the bottom rung of the
millionaire ladder.
Think of it. A mere $5.26 million and you’ll not only get
100 percent ownership of a magazine that features Bo Derek on its
current cover and is speckled with ads for all the stuff
presumably to be found in your typical millionaire’s toy box, but
you’ll also get a functioning Web site bearing the name of
what else but There’s even an actual bona fide
auction “venue” in South Carolina in the deal. This is where
millionaires presumably can come from far and wide to auction off
the diamond encrusted Patek Philippe watches they no longer want.

`Get Me Ivana’

In short, you could be the person who fills the shoes left
empty by the departure of the late, great Malcolm Forbes, and
lift high the media world torch for rich folks seeking life’s
true meaning in a Streetrod golf cart with a tilt steering wheel
and a Kenwood CD/cassette stereo rig in the dash.
You could be the publishing world reincarnation of Robin
Leach. You’ll get to pick up the phone and say, “Get me Wayne
Huizenga …” or “Get me Ivana Trump …” and then get
yourself invited to lunch to discuss cover possibilities. You’ll
get to approve layouts, say witty things, hire a secretary named
Tiffany who doesn’t wear underpants. You’ll get to “take a
lunch,” schedule an “investigative piece” on Bohemian Grove,
talk about your friends at Allen & Co. You’ll get to claim to be
pals with Tina Brown. It’ll be champagne kisses and caviar dreams
24/7 (or was it the other way around?). Whatever. It’ll be great.
First, however, there are a few things you should know. As
is the case with many penny stocks, this one is connected to
people you most definitely won’t be wanting to put on the cover
of Millionaire magazine, and once you step in what these folks
leave behind them, you’ll never get the stink off your shoe.
We’re speaking in this case of one Abraham Salaman of

Yiddy Bloom’s Friend

If the name Abraham Salaman rings the faintest of bells
with you it is perhaps because of a story I did on the old goat
back in December of 1997 when the market was really beginning to
boil and penny stocks everywhere were making new highs.
For anyone too young to remember the infamous Magic Marker
Corp. stock swindle that shook Wall Street a quarter century ago,
Abe was one of the men behind it. Back in those days Abe headed a
Philadelphia brokerage company called Delphi Capital Corp. His
buddies included Harry Blumenfeld (a k a “Yiddy Bloom”), a top-
ranked money man for the mob in Miami, who in turn was a friend
and business associate of the Mafia’s ultimate Mister Moneybags
himself, Meyer Lansky.
With these resources, Abe helped to set up and run a price-
rigging conspiracy that eventually involved over 20 individuals
who artfully — and illegally — manipulated the price of Magic
Marker’s shares from $6.50 to $30 over a 10-month period
beginning in 1971.

Nolo Contendere

In time, the conspiracy collapsed and Abe wound up pleading
nolo contendere to a 31-count criminal indictment brought by
prosecutors for an organized crime strike force in Philadelphia.
He was charged with conspiracy, mail fraud and other related
charges. His nolo plea got him three years’ probation, a $5,000
fine and a three-year ban from involvement as a broker-dealer in
the securities industry.
Since then, of course, Abe has returned to the securities
business, and has been one way or another linked to a number of
penny stocks that have soared to nosebleed heights, then abruptly
crashed. He hasn’t been charged with anything, and is doubtless
as pure as new-fallen snow. Yet he just keeps turning up in these
curious deals.
There’s been an outfit called Neurocorp Ltd., which soared
from $1.13 to $20 in 1995-96 on plans to open a chain of memory
loss treatment centers. As soon as it hit $20, the stock keeled
over and collapsed, and is today selling for roughly $2.50 a
share. Abe was a big investor in the stock.

American Interactive Media

In addition to his investment in Neurocorp, there’s been his
involvement in American Interactive Media Inc., which yo-yo’d
between $1 and $10 throughout the mid-1990s on plans to “allow
consumers to access the Internet over their television sets.”
Shares in the New York based company have since collapsed and are
now selling for 14 cents apiece. The company was founded by Mr.
Salaman’s son, Michael, and Abe himself hired a Florida stock
promoter to pump up the shares.
There’s likewise been World Wireless Communications Inc.,
which rose from $2 to $12 in 1997 on a telecommunications story,
then crashed and is now selling for $3. Abe held a big chunk of
that one too, as he did with others that erupted out of nowhere,
spurted into orbit, then crashed.
Now, it turns out, Abe was instrumental in putting together as a public company, helping to arrange for the
magazine, headed by one Robert White (the original creator of
Robb Report magazine), to be merged into an OTC Bulletin Board
company bearing the name Charter Investor Relations of North
America Inc. The deal was announced in December of 1998 and the
company’s stock soared almost instantly thereafter from $4 to
almost $26 per share. Then just as abruptly, it crashed, and 20
months later is now selling for 60 cents a share.

`Fully Reporting’

Abe and a man who has turned up in various other Salaman
deals — one Lynn Dixon — were investors in the deal … all of
which we may know thanks to the company’s filing of a so-called
10-SB form with the Securities and Exchange Commission last
December. Through the filing,, based in Hilton
Head, South Carolina, is requesting to become a so-called “fully
reporting” company, which is to say, to avoid being thrown off
even the OTC Bulletin Board and get dumped into the so-called
“pink sheets” where the most dubious investments on all of Wall
Street are to be found.
But whether the SEC will grant them full-filing status is
not yet certain. Subsequent to the December filing, has filed three separate amendments to the
document, the most recent of which is dated July 20, suggesting
that the SEC keeps raising questions about what it is being told
by the company.

SEC Investigation

There’s good reason to do so, too, since even a casual
canter through the latest document reveals activities about which
investors in these shares might want to know more. It turns out,
for example, that is currently the focus of an
SEC investigation. Company documents have been subpoenaed and
testimony from employees has been taken. Investors might want to
know what that’s all about, but the 10-SB filings give no further
For what it is worth, my own hunch is that the SEC probe has
to do with the bizarre run-up — and equally sudden collapse —
in’s shares between December of 1998 and March of
1999. At around that time, the Wall Street Journal reported that had been using the services of a Florida-based
stock promoter named Steven Samblis to handle its investor and
public relations, and noted that Mr. Samblis had earlier been
sued by the SEC for allegedly saying he was an independent stock-
picker when he was in fact getting paid by companies.
What the Journal did not report — doubtless because it
didn’t know of it — was an apparent link between Mr. Samblis and
our old friend Abe Salaman. The evidence? An autumn of 1997
newsletter published by Samblis that contained a glowing write-up
on Abe’s son’s company (the above-mentioned American Interactive
Media), suggesting that it could be “the next Microsoft.”
Thereafter, American Interactive began a rise that carried it
from around $3 to almost $9 a share, before crashing.

The Financial Numbers

As revealed in the 10-SB,’s financials are
exactly what you’d expect from a company with a total market
value of barely $5.26 million. The company has $578,000 of cash,
roughly $600,000 of negative working capital, and no net worth at
all. In the year ended December 1999, it collected net revenue of
less than $3.4 million and 20 percent of it went straight into
the pockets of the top four men as cash compensation and bonuses.
In the process, the company racked up operating losses of $6.2
million as $3.8 million of operating cash flew out the window.
So it comes down to this: For $5.26 million you can become a
pint-sized Malcolm Forbes and run around celebrating the triumph
of seven-digit wealth. And for a whole lot less than that you can
piggyback aboard the efforts of Mr. Robert White and his
fascinating backers to do precisely the same thing. Just
remember, you’ll be buying into more than you’re ever likely to
read about in the pages of Millionaire magazine — a lot more.






Sandra Boenish, Vancouver’s Finest, CFO to the Stars – AVXL, NAKD, Lincoln Park

Today we quickly examine the sad state of retail favorite, but blindingly obvious bio-turd, lovingly referred to as Scamavex (AVXL). If one follows us on Twitter, (@buyersstrike) one would have seen warnings that Anavex Life Sciences (AVXL) is really just a plaything of Vancouver stock promoter Harvey Lalach. In fact, the common refrain is that “One can take the company out of Vancouver, but you can never take Vancouver out of the company.”

And in fact, the company did pick up and move, to shiny offices in New York City. And yet, the pull of Vancouver is strong. Just a few weeks ago Anavex announced the hiring of a new CFO. Sandra Boenisch. A quick read of the 8K filing announcing her arrival, and a look at her resume, leads to more questions than answers.

Take a look:

Ms. Boenisch, age 34, has no family relationship with any other officer or director of the Company. With respect to the Company, Ms. Boenisch has not had a direct or indirect material interest in any transaction described in Item 404(a) of Regulation S-K. In connection with Ms. Boenisch’s appointment as Principal Financial Officer, the Company and Ms. Boenisch entered into an employment agreement commencing on October 1, 2015 and ending on September 30, 2017, whereby: (a) the Company shall pay to Ms. Boenisch an annual base salary of Seventy-Eight Thousand and 00/100 Canadian Dollars ($78,000 CAD)

A CFO capable of handing the workload of a ~380mm USD market cap biotech (at time of writing) that supposedly has the cure for Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease (if the dumb donkey longs and touts are to be believed) can be hired for just $78,000 CAD per year salary (roughly $59,500 USD at time of writing)? Really?

Why is a supposedly American biotech company, based in NYC, paying its newly minted superstar CFO in Canadian dollars? Perhaps we need to take a look at her resume. Here is the resume portion of the 8k:

Ms. Boenisch has been an independent consultant, providing financial reporting services to a range of public companies in the United States and Canada since January 2012. From 2008 until 2012, Ms. Boenisch was employed at BDO Canada LLP (Vancouver, BC) where she was hired as a Senior Accountant and was later promoted to Manager, Audit Assurance. Ms. Boenisch specialized in managing assurance engagements for public companies in the United States and Canada. Prior to that, Ms. Boenisch worked for a public accounting firm beginning in 2001.

Well there is our Vancouver connection, but she has no experience as a CFO, and none in biotech. And what did she do between January 2012 and getting this amazing job at revolutionary, world-changing, Anavex? The 8K says she was an independent consultant. However her LinkedIn page says something very different.


That’s not what the 8K filing says, now is it?

It turns out she does have some experience in the past with a public company, Naked Brand Group, Inc is actually publicly traded Naked Brands (NAKD). Insert your own jokes about Anavex’s head of Business Development and Investor Relations, Nell Rebowe, here.

Sure enough, just like Anavex, Naked Brands started life as a Nevada shell company, in this case a little piece of junk called “” (SBHL) which obtained a listing in 2007. The Headlines shell then acquired a dismal little underwear company called Naked Boxer Brief Clothing, Inc. creating yet another wretched reverse merger polluting the lower reaches of Wall Street (& Howe Street) NAKD.

Sandra joined NAKD a year later, in May 2013 as VP of Finance.

But being a piece of junk Canadian company merged into a Nevada shell, and hiring Sandra Boenish, are not the only things AVXL and NAKD have in common. There’s more.

In September of 2013, NAKD announced with great fanfare an investment from an institutional investor. Retail longs seem incapable of understanding that difference between a legitimate long term institutional investor, and what could kindly be described as the newest incarnation of 90s death-spiral shops. Here is a chart of NAKD’s share price from the date of that investment, 16 September 2013 until today.

Share price from 16 Sept 2013 until present.

Share price from 16 Sept 2013 until present.

Pretty impressive performance. The investor? Why none other than AVXL’s recently announced institutional investor, the sharks at Lincoln Park Capital. Read more about Lincoln Park here.

And take a look at the most recent press release from Anavex, trumpting an abstract of what we will charitably call a “study”, that is no more than a small collection of completely uncontrolled, unblinded, anecdotes about their snake oil Anavex 2-73. The important bit is at the bottom:

Shareholder & Media Relations
Toll-free: 1-866-505-2895
Outside North America: +1 (416) 489-0092

A 416 (Ontario) area code for a NYC-based, Nevada corporation, with a CFO in Vancouver? Odd, right? A quick search of that number leads to a stock promotion outfit in Toronto, Primoris Group, a firm with 2 co-founders who are no strangers to the seedy world of micro-crap Canadian stock message boards.

Maybe we’ll tear apart Anavex‘s ridiculous “study” claims over the weekend. Until then, lets see how the dynamic CFO and IR due of Sandra and Nell do, especially with their Toronto stock pumping friends.

The content contained in this blog represents only the opinions of the author. The author may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog. This commentary in no way constitutes investment advice, and should never be relied on in making an investment decision, ever. This blog is not a solicitation of business: all inquiries will be ignored. The content herein is intended solely for the entertainment of the reader, and the author.

A Few Words on Scamceutix – CTIX

If you haven’t been following the saga of sister companies Nanoviricides (NNVC), Cellceutix (CTIX) and Nanoantibiotics (NNAB) you have missed a fun few weeks. (Some background on Nanoviricides is here, read Duff McDonald‘s great piece in the New York Observer here and a fun blurb on NNAB at Barrons here).

Last week Mako Research published a devastating expose of Cellceutix on Seeking Alpha, read it here. Then, on Friday of last week the company issued a bizarre attempt at a rebuttal, aping the language of retail bagholders referring to Mako as a “Shorter”. Here is the full text of CTIX’s bizarre rant. Then on Monday of this week, the company issued yet more insane ramblings, here.

One of the many valid criticisms of CTIX is that the company historically claimed founder and President Krishna Menon received his PhD at Harvard. There are even signed financial statements submitted to the SEC containing such claims. Of course, to those who bothered to do simple background checks it was obvious this claim was a lie.

Scamceutix however, in Monday’s missive tries to explain it away as a mere “administrative error”. Says the company:

There was an administrative error stating that Dr. Menon earned his PhD from Harvard, when the fact is that Dr. Menon worked as a research scientist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. This error was corrected years ago.

Then how does the company explain away the fact that sister scam, Nanoviricides, claims Menon, their Chief Regulatory Officer, also got his PhD from Harvard?

“Administrative” Error Or Pattern Of Fraud?

And although CTIX claims the supposed error was “corrected” that is another lie. The company has not issued amended filings to correct the “administrative error”.

Extra credit assignment: Read this piece revealing the many lies of CTIX founder and President, and NNVC Chief Regulatory Officer Krishna Menon, here.

The content contained in this blog represents only the opinions of the author. The author may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog. This commentary in no way constitutes investment advice, and should never be relied on in making an investment decision, ever. This blog is not a solicitation of business: all inquiries will be ignored. The content herein is intended solely for the entertainment of the reader, and the author.

Adam S. Gottbetter’s Very Bad Day – EKSO, NTRP, CURM, & More

UPDATE: Read Adam S. Gottbetter’s plea agreement:


Delusional, self-important, penny stock lawyer Adam S. Gottbetter is having a really bad day. He was first exposed in Barron’s in a great piece by Bill Alpert in 2009. Read it here. Today, 6 years later, in an amazingly rare action against a lawyer, the SEC charged Gottbetter with a litany of offenses.


Protocol Deviations And The One Site to Rule Them All – AMPE

Our post last week on Freezergate 14, “Every Picture…” has caused quite a stir. Today Ampion (AMPE)  has issued a “Letter To Shareholders” available here attempting to gloss over some of the Freezergate ’14 issues.

Don’t worry shareholders, these things happen all the time and the FDA is “very positive” as this particularly choice bit suggests:


Every Picture Tells A Story – AMPE, the (other) Dream Team & Raghuram Selvaraju

Today’s story begins with an aging office park, 500 arthritic Phase III subjects and a freezer that eats dreams. Welcome, dear readers, to the world of Ampio Pharmaceuticals (AMPE), the filthy reverse merger put together by Las-Vegas-based stock promoter Jens Dalsgaard, charming the market this week with tales from Freezergate ’14 (read more about Freezergate here).
Sell-side shill Raghuram Selvaraju, of Aegis Capital, brushed off Freezergate as an innocent distribution error in his report of 21 August 2014 (emphasis mine):

 This morning, Ampio Pharmaceuticals announced a delay in the data analysis of the STEP study due to the fact that the study drug (both AmpionTM and the placebo) were exposed to lower temperatures than permitted by the drug specifications during shipment to the clinical sites….During the review of all documentation following the unblinding of the study, the company’s independent Clinical Research Organization discovered that the drug product received at the clinical sites had been below the temperature requirement of 15 degrees Celsius and may have been frozen for some period of time.

Innocent enough? Hardly. All Ram is doing is regurgitating the company line, spinning what most certainly be failure into platitudes and excuses designed to keep suckers buying paper that likely is only worth the cash on the balance sheet, roughly $1.25 per share. But what really jumped out at us was a creative use of the plural (clinical sites?) and a funny definition of the word “independent”. We were recently in sunny SoCal and investigted this independent CRO, which just happened to share a wall with the study’s sole site and Principal Investigator (“PI”). Coincidence?


Quick Take – Nanoviricides (NNVC)

Two great reads about reverse merger bio-turd Nanoviricides (NNVC).

First, check out Duff McDonald’s piece in the NY Observer, available here.

Then read these emails between NNVC CEO Eugene Seymour and some poor sap he is promising a seat on the BoD.

Finally, scratch your head as you try to contemplate just how monumentally stupid the investors in NNVC must be. Congratulations Dr. Seymour you found a group of morons even dumber than the GALE-eediots.