It looked like a sure thing when this investor watched a YouTube interview of a marijuana company’s CEO touting his business plan. It excited this government contractor, who was working 90 hours a week, so much that he invested his savings into the stock.
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By Chet Dembeck
In what appears to be an orchestrated attack by multiple scammers against Etsy, a popular privately-held online market highlighting handmade crafts, has highlighted the potential vulnerability of online marketplace giants Amazon ( NASDAQ: AMZN) and eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) to similar malicious attacks.
According to eCommerce Bytes, “scammers opened hundreds of shops on Etsy containing listings copied from other sellers for apparently nefarious purposes. An Etsy moderator responding to one thread reassured users it was aware of the issue, but the post left sellers with many questions and uncertainty. ”
Phoney Storefronts To Grab Quick Cash
Some Etsy sellers on its forum alleged that the newly launched scam shops with copied product images originated in China and that as soon as Etsy shut one down, another one popped up.
The consensus is that the sole purpose of the attack was to score some quick cash and never deliver the items being ordered.
This comes only a month after eBay announced that millions of its customers’ accounts could have been compromised in the following press release:
“Our company recently discovered a cyber attack that comprised a small number of employee log in credentials, allowing unauthorized access to eBay’s corporate network,” the release said.
“As a result, a database containing encrypted password and other non-financial data was compromised. There is no evidence of the compromise affecting accounts for Paypal users, and no evidence of any unauthorized access to personal, financial or credit card information, which is stored separately in encrypted formats. The company is asking all eBay users to change their passwords.”
What customer information was accessed?
The attack resulted in unauthorized access to a database of eBay users that included:
- Customer name
- Encrypted password
- Email address
- Physical address
- Phone number
- Date of birth
Ecommerce Being Adversely Affected
Various eBay sellers have publicly stated that since the most recent attack, their sales have plummeted because of the bad publicity and consumer security concerns.
In the short and long term, such hacking attacks could adversely affect Etsy, eBay and Amazon, unless these companies more carefully vet new stores, especially with origins in countries noted for scamming.
It appears that all three have been blinded by the increase in market such countries as China offer without taking the necessary counter measures to make sure new online merchants are on the up and up and just Trojan horses ready to invade, plunder and conquer.
Neither Chet Dembeck nor Last Reporter have a position in eBay or Amazon.
By Chet Dembeck
Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s regulator, former Democratic Congressman Mel Watt, said Tuesday that he wouldn’t force the mortgage giants to cut back on the limits on the loans they guarantee, citing concern that such an action would further slowdown an already sluggish housing market.
This came as a big shot in the arm for both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Watt’s action should come as no surprise, considering the Obama-Administration appointee has taken the reverse position of the regulator he replaces, Edward J. DeMarco, a career bureaucrat appointed by President George W. Bush.
In truth, the taxpayer bailed out quasi-public agencies are still purchasing or backing nearly 60% of all new mortgages.
The agency asked for public comment in December on a plan that would have reduced the loan limit to $400,000, from $417,000, in much of the country and down to $600,000, from $625,000, in Southern California and other high-priced markets.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Reform On Hold
Despite cries for reform ever since the agencies suspect lending policies sparked a housing collapse unlike anything seen since the Great Depression, there does not seem to be the political will on either side of aisle to take these bulls by their horns.
Senators have delayed a committee vote on legislation Apr. 29 that could eliminate Freddie Mac (OTCBB: FMCC) and Fannie Mae (OTCBB: FNMA) and replace them with a new entity.
They claim the delay is a tactic supporters of the measure are using to widen bipartisan support and break the resistance to finally resolving the fate of Fannie and Freddie 5-1/2 years after the government bailed them out.
Sens. Tim Johnson (D., S.D.) and Mike Crapo (R., Idaho), the heads of the Senate Banking Committee, also claim they had enough support from the 22-member panel to pass the bill.
However, they have thought it was a wise strategy to wait a few days in an attempt to convince some of the uncommitted lawmakers to vote their way. Those days could easily turn to weeks and end up not happening at all this year.
Other Reasons Bill Could Be Stalled
That’s because, according to industry experts, there are a myriad of reasons why the bill could end up dead in the water this year. Here are just a few of them:
• It’s an election year.
• Civil rights groups have cited Johnson-Crapo’s lack of provisions to protect minorities against mortgage loan discrimination.
• The Obama administration has only given lip service to the bill and has not backed it with any real political capital.
• The existing opposition to the bill is adequate to keep progressives from pushing to get the bill to the Senate floor in 2014.
Even though Fannie and Freddie should be totally overhauled, there are not enough politicians with the foresight or courage to make it happen. Plus, there are just too many special interest groups that have been depending on Fannie and Freddie’s largess of backing fiscally unsound ventures.
Therefore, it’s a good bet that the share value of both stay static, until some real action is taken to reinvent them.
On May 13, Fannie Mae’s (OTCBB: FNMA) share value closed at $4.49, up 33 cents from its closing price of $4.20 the previous day, on volume of 17,445,264 shares.
On May 13, Freddie Mac’s (OTCBB: FMCC) share value closed at $4.09, up 29 cents from its closing price of $4.23 the previous day, on volume of 17,445,264 shares.
Neither Chet Dembeck or Last Reporter have a position in FNAC or FMCC
By Chet Dembeck
It was only a month ago when WWA Group Inc. (OTCQB: WWAG), parent of Summit Digital Inc., got its positive spin machine going by announcing that it intends to launch, in the near future, an Internet streaming video channel that is to be dedicated solely to Medical Marijuana lifestyle issues and business opportunities.
Yet, the Sterling, Mich.-based cable-and-wireless Internet service provider remains mum about it latest 10-Q filing it made with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) May 12.
This is understandable for the following reasons:
- The unaudited financials show that WWA Group lost $130,680 for the first quarter ending Mar. 31, 2014, when compared to a lost of just $1,938 for the same period a year ago.
- WWA Group’s payroll for 1Q 2014 was $125,430, compared to $25,979 the previous year.
- Its revenue 1Q from cable and Internet services was $130,043, down from the previous year’s revenue of 136,987.
Small Subscriber Base
Moreover, WWA Group’s subscriber base is miniscule, according to its 10-Q filing:
“Summit Digital currently serves 841 subscribers in the States of Oklahoma and Michigan, with an average monthly billing of approximately $61. At June 30, 2012, Summit Digital served 840 subscribers in the States of Oklahoma and Michigan, with monthly billing of approximately $61,” the document reported.
Medical Marijuana Channel?
Some observers would argue that WWA Group’s pending medical-marijuana channel is nothing but a diversionary tactic used by the company to pump up its poor results thus far with the excitement and hype surrounding the legal marijuana industry.
They make a good point.
Neither Chet Dembeck or Last Reporter has a position in WWAG.
By Chet Dembeck
On May 7, Eco-Tek Group Inc. (OTCPINK: ETEK) said it had received a re-order from our Distributor in Peru, ANC Inversiones Generales EIRL for $153,103.
The order is for 180 additional Oil ByPass Systems and 20 of the Canadian-based green lubricant’s new Hydraulic ByPass Systems as well as supplies and Eco-Tek SuperLube.
ANC had installed an Eco-Tek Hydraulic ByPass System as a trial last month with a mining customer. The trial has resulted in the first order for the Hydraulic ByPass System in Peru. Eco-Tek will ship the products in early June.
Order from the Ukraine
On May 5, Eco-Tek Group said it received a new order from Global Vu, our distributor in the Ukraine. for $7,000.
“We had feared that Global Vu would have a tough time with the current situation in the Ukraine but they are well and continuing to conduct business,” said said Stephen Tunks, Eco-Tek CEO.
While it’s always good to hear news of a company making sales, the size of these sales are minuscule when compared to its loss of $868,000 for the year ending Dec. 31, 2012.
It would also be nice if Eco-Tek would update its financials so its shareholders and those considering investing in the company could have a more recent snapshot of its financial health.
It would also help if the company would tell shareholders the approximate margins on their orders. For all we know, they could be selling products at cost or below.
On May 9. ETEK’s share value closed at 0.0068 cents, down 0.0001 cents, or (1.45%), from the previous day’s close of 0.0069 cents, on volume of 4,686,417 shares.
Neither Chet Dembeck or Last Reporter has a position in ETEK.
By Chet Dembeck
A May 9 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows that Frozen Food Gift Group Inc.’s, (OTCQB: FROZ) Chief Operating Officer, appointed Apr. 1, 2014 owned 219,912,563 shares of FROZ common stock as of Mar. 31, 2014.
Another May 9 SEC filing shows that Frozen Food Gift Shop Group’s President Covey Troy Allen owns 5,236,934 shares of FROZ Class C Convertible Preferred Stock exercisable by Sept. 28, 2015 and 10,323,868 shares of FROZ Class E Convertible Preferred Stock exercisable by Mar. 28, 2015.
In addition, latest filings shows that Dyess William Corey owns 1,647,491 of FROZ Class C Convertible Preferred Stock exercisable by Sept. 28, 2015 and 3,144,982 shares of FROZ Class E Convertible Preferred Stock exercisable by Mar. 28, 2015.
Moreover, another filing shows that Frozen Gift Shop Group’s William Maher owns 290,511 shares of FROZ Class C Convertible Preferred Stock exercisable by Sept. 28, 2015 and 290,511 shares of FROZ Class E Convertible Preferred Stock exercisable by Mar. 28, 2015.
Finally, the filings shows that Frozen Gift Group’s CEO Wayne Patterson owns 1,982,939 shares
of FROZ Class C Convertible Preferred Stock exercisable by Sept. 28, 2015 and 3,815,878 shares of FROZ Class E Convertible Preferred Stock exercisable by Mar.28, 2015.
Issues Convertible Bonds
According to an 8-K form filed with the SEC on May 9, Frozen Food Gift Shop Group issued a convertible promissory note on May 6, 2014 in the amount of $250,000 to Tangiers Investment Group, LLC. The company is to pay the principal amount plus 8% interest on May 6, 2015, to the extent that such principal amount and interest has not been repaid or converted to the Company’s Common Stock.
On May 8, 2014, Frozen Food Gift Group also issued a convertible promissory note in the amount of $115,500 to LG Capital Funding, LLC. The Company is to pay the principal amount plus 8% interest on May 8, 2015, to the extent that such principal amount and interest has not been repaid or converted to the Company’s Common Stock.
On May 9. FROZ’s shares value closed at 0.0051 cents, up 0.0002 cents, or 4.08%, from its previous day’s close of 0.0049, on volume of 21,398,016 shares.
Neither Chet Dembeck or Last Reporter has a position in FROZ.
By Chet Dembeck
Envision Solar International Inc. (OTCQB: EVSI) says the City of Boulder, Colorado has installed of two new Envision Solar EV ARC™ standalone Solar Charging Stations.
According to the press release, these two fully renewable energized EV chargers are located at the East Boulder Community Center and the Broadway & Spruce Parking Lot and are available free of charge to the public.
While this all sounds fine and good, the rest of the release reads like a commercial for renewable energy in general and Envision Solar specifically.
Speaking of specifics, that is what this press release lacks greatly. For example, we are told that the two units are installed in Boulder, but we are not told if they were paid for — or are on consignment – or what?
If they were paid for, how much did then generate in revenue and a ballpark estimate of the margins would really be nice.
If they are on consignment, then there are also some unanswered questions: How long are they on consignment for? Is a purchase plan in place? You know, basic questions and answers that help shareholders and potential investors decide how Envision Solar is really doing.
It is maddening.
Not Much In The Way of Sales
For example, Envision Solar’s latest 10-K filing says that during 2013, “the company had three customers that each exceeded 10% of our revenue.” Ok. Let’s see, for the year ending Dec. 31, 2013, Envision Solar’s revenue was about $281,000. So, it made three sales for units more than $28,000 each. Is that a big deal?
The company then goes on to explain:” Although we will continue to market and sell to these same entities, the revenues were for independent product sales or project based sales which conclude with installations, there is no continued effect or relationship to any future revenues from these sources or others.”
Is this what you call a good business model? A one-shot sale? I don’t think so.
Not only that, there is no mention of any profit margins. By the way, Envision lost more than $2.7 million for the year ending 2013, compared to losing $2.5 million the previous year.
This kind of press release is indicative of many alternative energy companies and penny stocks that are ever optimistic as the red ink flows. Frankly, it gets a little boring and frustrating to report on them.
On May 9, EVSI share value closes at 12 cents, up 5 cents, or 73% from the previous day’s close of 7 cents, on volume of 36,057 shares.
By Chet Dembeck
On May 8, Creative Edge Nutrition Inc. (OTCPINK: FITX), a pharmaceuticals company making cannabis-based products, announced that it has added Michael K. Clark to its board of directors effective immediately.
Clark is just the latest, impressive appointment to its board of directors, which some industry sources see as an effort to make sure its new products fare well when they come under the scrutiny of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Clark is currently Chief Executive Officer of MKC Capital Partners, a Wall Street Financial Institution with focus on supporting corporations in the emerging and established capital markets.
He was CEO of Clark Dodge Holdings, a multi-faceted financial holding company providing services that include investment banking for private equity, venture capital and late stage financing for public and private companies. Clark joins Creative Edge Nutrition with over 25 years of experience in the global securities industry having led the growth of several international servicing companies including Fidelity and JP Morgan.
“We continue to seek out world-class Directors to strengthen our executive management team and Michael provides a very strong fundamental approach with his expertise in working in the global capital markets,” commented Bill Chaaban, President & CEO. “Michael is influential in transforming businesses to create superior performance and we believe he has the right skill-sets to help our company foster long-term growth.”
Clark served as vice chairman of Standard Charter Bank and is Director of Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.
Prior to joining Creative Edge, Clark held several senior positions including President of Fidelity Institutional Products Group. Previously he was Chief Executive Officer of JP Morgan Worldwide Securities Services, and JPMorgan Executive Committee reporting to CEO, Jamie Dimon.
More recently, Clark was chief executive officer at Butterfield Fulcrum Group from July 2010 to December 2011 and was chairman and CEO of World Surveillance Group Inc. at Global Telesat Corp., since June 2010 until April 2012.
He holds a B.S. from SUNY Maritime College and an Executive M.B.A. from New York University. Clark also gained a degree in Quantitative Statistics from the University of Southern California.
John A. Germinario Appointed
This high-powered appointment comes less than 10 days after Creative Edge announced the appointment of John A. Germinario as chairman of its board of directors .
As a seasoned banker with over 33 years of experience in global capital markets, Germinario will be managing a variety of immediate tasks including regulatory compliance, risk management, corporate governance, potential mergers and acquisitions, assessing market strategy and spearheading financing activities.
Germinario currently serves as CEO of Global Securities Services Corporation an international strategic institution focused on designing and implementing Depositary Receipt Programs for publicly traded companies.
Prior to joining CEN Biotech, Germinario was a global capital markets securities fraud examiner and worked with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Whistleblower to identify multiple levels of securities, bank and tax fraud, resulting in the collection of hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid taxes by four major New York banks.
On May 9, FITX shares closed at 9 cents unchanged from its closing price the previous day, on volume of 15.6 million shares.
Neither Chet Dembeck or Last Reporter has a position in FITX.
By Chet Dembeck
Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest electric utility’s spokesman Gabriel Romero revealed that companies operating marijuana growing warehouses face tremendous energy costs that may one render this sector unprofitable, according to The Street.
According to Xcel Energy, marijuana growers are forced to upgrade the electrical equipment in their warehouses as much as 10 times more than the companies that occupied them before. This involves installing new panels to handle the additional electricity being pumped into the building as well as the cost of paying for new dedicated transformers and utility poles that must be installed outside the warehouses.
These additional costs can easily add up to $25,000 to $35,000 and are billed by the utility to the growers. In addition, growers can spend as much as $30,000 a month on providing light.
High Energy Cost Could Affect Viability of Marijuana Growing Model
Marijuana growers currently consumer about 1% of the power generated in the United States, according to a study by Evan Mills, an energy analyst with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. That adds up to about $6 billion worth annually.
Therefore, any company investing in the marijuana industry should consider this: as much as 50% of the wholesale price of marijuana is from electricity, according to Mills’ research. If the boom in marijuana results in drastically lower prices, it could render indoor growing operations economically unviable, he writes.
By Chet Dembeck
Quasar Aerospace Industries Inc.’s (OTC Pink: QASP) President Donnell J. Vigil gave a straight-forward update to shareholders on the company’s progress during a May 9 conference call.
In case you didn’t hear it, here are paraphrases of the important points and disclosures she made regarding the flight school side of the business:
- Quasar is definitely in the flight school business and intends to expand this segment.
- The company is closing its flight school in Colorado and reopening a new flight school in Lancaster, Pa. It should be operational within 60 days.
- Homeland Security has approved Quasar to train students with M1 and M2 visas from China and India to become commercial pilots.
- Its flight school in Florida is doing well. Projected revenue for one school is $3 to $4 million a year. Company plans to expand in Florida.
In case you didn’t hear it, here are paraphrases of the important points and disclosures she made regarding the new marijuana side of the business:
- Quasar has run into regulatory problems regarding it proposed purchase of a Colorado medical-marijuana dispensary. The problem centers around the requirement that the company be owned by a resident of the state. Since Quasar is owned by its shareholders, this has presented a problem, according to Ms. Vigil. However, she said Quasar’s legal team is looking into finding a possible solution.
- Despite this setback in the dispensary acquisition, Quasar has not given up on entering the marijuana business. It is in the middle of acquiring a hydroponic growing equipment store in Colorado. This is a lucrative business with 35% margins that sells soil, growing equipment and other accessories used in the cultivation of marijuana or other organic plants, according to Quasar management.
- The company is in the middle of acquiring such a store. Once the first store is acquired, Quasar plans to open a new one immediately. The revenue generated from the store as of Apr. 30, 2014 was $1.7 million, compared with $739,000 for the same period last year.
- Quasar is also in the middle of due diligence on acquiring a marijuana growing warehouse, where it would lease space to up to 20 dispensaries. Vigil said she is presently looking at two. According to the company this is profitable business that has a 35% margin. The goal is to acquire a warehouse by the first week of June.
On May 9, QASP’s share price closed at 0.0016 cents, down 0.0001 cents, or 5.88%, from its previous closing price of 0.0017 cents, on volume of 117,173,412 shares.
To hear the recording of the conference again dial: 1 712 432 1219,
then enter when asked the ID # 426 062 869#. Wait about 15 seconds for the recording to start.
Neither Chet Dembeck or Last Reporter has a position in QASP.