The former head of an Irvine boiler-room operation that fleeced victims out of more than $2.4 million has been permanently barred from acting as an officer or director of any public company, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced Thursday.
David Sweaney, ex-CEO of Nanotech Engineering, was also ordered by a District of Columbia federal judge to pay restitution and a civil penalty in an amount to be determined by the SEC.
The SEC previously obtained a preliminary injunction and asset freeze against Nanotech, David Sweaney, chief financial officer Michael James Sweaney — also known as Michael Hatton — and chief operating officer Jeffery Gange for allegedly defrauding more than 100 investors.
The defendants allegedly raised more than $9.4 million in investments and diverted over $2.4 million to support a “lavish lifestyle” that included yachts, fancy cars, cosmetic surgery, dermatology, spa treatments, and thousands of dollars of “vaping products” and tobacco, according to the SEC.
The company offered investments in what it called a revolutionary “Nanopanel” solar panel, supposedly stronger than steel “yet flexible and three to four times more efficient,” Nanotech said in a disclosure document quoted by the SEC.
The SEC filed an amended complaint Tuesday adding allegations that Nanotech was entirely a fraud, and that its Nanopanel never existed. The litigation is ongoing.
Nanotech operated by employing unlicensed stockbrokers in a boiler-room setting who cold-called potential investors from Alaska to Florida, regulators said.