Court files summary judgment against Rivera

By Erin Voegele | July 26, 2011

A federal judge has granted the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission a summary judgment against John H. Rivera, chairman and CEO of Texas-based U.S. Sustainable Energy Corp. The SEC filed a civil complaint in U.S. District Court in mid-2008, alleging that Rivera’s company used a “pump-and-dump” scheme to illegally make more than $721,000 on its owns stock. (See “SEC files complaint against U.S. Sustainable Energy.”)

According to the summary judgment, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Western Division, the SEC claimed in its complaint that Rivera used false press release and public statements to drive interest in his company’s stock in order to dump insider shares into a public market that was fraudulently influenced by his false statements. The complaint also alleged that Rivera falsely complained that his company could employ the Rivera Process, a pyrolysis process, to produce products. According to court documents, the SEC asserts that the case is not about whether a pyrolysis process could be successful, but whether Rivera’s claims that he had perfected such a process were false.

 “The central fraud alleged involves claims by Rivera that USSE could produce viable commercial biofuel and fertilizer products,” states the judgment filed by the Mississippi court. “The [SEC] contends that false press releases dramatically increased the price and volume of trading in USSE’s shares.”

 The filing further elaborates that the Rivera fraudulently claimed that his company had a fully operational plant, that the process could create 5 gallons of fuel from a single bushel of soybeans, and that his company could produce 6,000 gallon of fuels per day at a cost of 50 cents per gallon. In addition, the complaint alleged that Rivera made misrepresentations regarding a prominent investment banker and prominent industry figure’s involvement in his company. He also misrepresented a property purchase, fertilizer sale and the development of ASTM-certified biodiesel.

Among other actions, the SEC sought a Penny Stock bar against Rivera and a bar against him from acting as a director or officer of any issuer having a class of securities registered with the SEC. “In light of the numerous findings that must be made by the court in fashioning appropriate remedies, the court shall conduct a hearing on remedies,” states the summary judgment. The hearing is scheduled for Aug. 8. 


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