The mystery of Southridge Enterprises and its
who were supposedly murdered in
By Gary Jacobson
The Dallas Morning News
February 14, 2013
By Gary Jacobson
Stock scam sleuth Janice Shell, once hailed as the “unofficial queen” of cybervigilantes by Fortune magazine, says she has never seen anything like it.
very metaphysical,” she said of Southridge Enterprises Inc. and recent reports
that two of the allegedly Dallas-based mining company’s executives were
Shell said a
joke photo making the rounds of her online community purports to show one of the
“departed” Southridge executives taking a shower with the fabricated
girlfriend of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o. There’s nobody there.
In the world
of penny stocks, where stretch limo dreams intersect with bus fare means, there
are often far more questions than answers. That’s definitely true in this
Southridge and the person, or persons, ultimately behind it somehow connected to
Mexican drug cartels or the Russian mafia, as claimed on Internet chat boards?
Is it just a
big pump-and-dump stock scheme designed to make quick profits for a few?
company’s gold and silver mining concessions in
really running the show — the person behind the wizard’s curtain, if there
is a curtain?
Is this all
an elaborate artifice, a la Manti?
questions. No good answers.
What we do know:
doesn’t have a headquarters office in
newspaper reporter who wrote the original “murder” story now admits doubts
about its veracity.
LinkedIn profile page for one of the supposedly slain executives carried the
same mug shot as the profile for a person identified as the owner-operator of a
Securities and Exchange Commission suspended trading in Southridge stock in
didn’t answer phone calls to its listed number Tuesday and Wednesday. And
apparently, according to Shell and another cybersleuth, it has begun
auto-forwarding calls to a shareholder who once complained to Southridge. The
party didn’t return a call from The News.
stock is very cheap. Thursday, in what the industry calls gray-market —
post-SEC suspension — trading, a penny would fetch about 7 shares, according
to Google Finance.
she has been monitoring Southridge-related companies for a while and quickly
cautioned that the truth may never be known. “You can’t assume that any of
this actually makes any sense,” she said.
didn’t make sense earlier this week to Linda Coker, the tenant relations
manager at 3625 N. Hall St., the Oak Lawn office building with the supposed
headquarters — Suite 900 — of Southridge and its mining subsidiary,
federal agents were here this morning asking the same questions you are,” she
told a reporter.
Southridge doesn’t lease space in the building. Later, after searching
records, she indicated that at one time, years ago, Southridge might have been
serviced by a temporary or virtual office operation that had space in the
Security, I think, but I’m not sure,” Coker said.
comment Wednesday, a spokeswoman at the Department of Homeland Security instead
asked The News for details about Southridge and the supposed Mexican murder
story. She said the agency would investigate and respond but cautioned that it
would take time. The department has not yet responded.
associate regional director for enforcement for the SEC’s
as a whole has taken a number of steps toward trying to cut off the fraud that
has occurred in the microcap market.” On a single day last year, he said, the
SEC suspended trading in nearly 400 penny stocks for violations of various
rules, such as missing deadlines for financial filings.
Enterprises, according to its filings, was formed in
has missed many filing deadlines and is definitely a microcap. According to
Google Finance, it has nearly 1 billion shares outstanding and a market
capitalization of about $1.5 million.
Shell cautions, be skeptical about everything, especially numbers.
In its 2012
annual report, for example, Southridge claims $3.1 million in revenue, which,
since it’s a mining company, presumes some mineral production. Yet no
production costs are listed.
can’t have production without production costs,” Shell said.
On Dec. 28,
the SEC suspended trading in Southridge stock on OTC Link because of questions,
in part, regarding the company’s claims of a joint partnership in
Southridge issued a press release saying “the joint partnership is no longer
week, things got very interesting.
‘A country of rumors’
a newspaper in
Antonio Neri Johnston, said he had received a call last Friday from a person
identifying himself with the municipal police in Hostotipaquillo, in Jalisco
cop reminded Johnston (no relation to the alleged victim) that they had met days
earlier when the reporter was covering the killing of a police chief. This time,
the alleged cop said, he had an exclusive: the bodies of two Americans found
floating in a river between the municipalities of Ixtlan del
Mexican authorities in both the states of Nayarit and Jalisco have denied any
knowledge of recovering the bodies of any Americans. One Mexican official in the
state of Nayarit said, “There have been bodies, but no Americans. If they were
Americans, everyone would know.”
reporter, said, “In retrospect, I should have verified the information more
‘We were fed a story’
fed a story, and many of us ran with it,” he said. The photographs “were
archived photos of past dead bodies recovered.”
appeared in at least six publications in
did this knew what they were doing,”
that, over the years, she has never found anyone who has talked in person to
Davies or Johnston. She said the biographical information for them, since
deleted from the corporate website, was cribbed and compiled from other online
In its own
investigation, The News found many, many “Michael Davieses” who live in the
Somewhere, maybe, Davies and Johnston do exist.
But not at
Southridge’s fake headquarters in
Any of them angry?
“Now that you mention it, yes,” he said.
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