Tuesday, December 16, 2008
The SEC charged seven individuals and two corporations, including National Lampoon, Inc., with engaging in three separate fraudulent schemes to manipulate the market for publicly traded securities through the payment of prearranged kickbacks. Other defendants include National Lampoon's CEO, Daniel S. Laikin, as well as stock promoters, a consultant, and an officer of another company. The Commission's actions, filed in federal district court in Philadelphia, allege that, in each case, individuals who controlled the stock of a public company arranged with corrupt promoters and others to generate purchases of the company's stock in exchange for cash kickbacks. In each case, a witness secretly cooperating with the government (the "CW") was paid a kickback to make purchases in the stock. The goal of the manipulators was to create the appearance of market interest, induce public purchases of the stock, and ultimately increase the stock's trading price. For example, the Commission alleges that Daniel Laikin and another defendant paid at least $68,000 in cash kickbacks for the purchase of National Lampoon stock in order to artificially inflate the stock price.
National Lampoon, Inc., headquartered in Los Angeles, California, is a media and entertainment company that develops, produces and distributes media projects including feature films, television programming, online and interactive entertainment, home video, and book publishing. The company produced such widely known films as National Lampoon's Animal House, and the National Lampoon Vacation series. National Lampoon's common stock is registered with the Commission and is listed on the NYSE Alternext, formerly the American Stock Exchange ("AMEX"). Daniel S. Laikin, of Los Angeles, California, has been the Chief Executive Officer of National Lampoon since 2005. Laikin controls approximately 40 percent of the voting stock of National Lampoon.