Peters & Peters

SEC complaint against Back to Green regarding misleading adverts


Key facts:

In September 2021, the SEC charged Puerto Rican company Back to Green Mining LLC (Back to Green) and its two managing members, José Jiménez Cruz and Manuel Portalatin, for their participation in a fraudulent and unregistered offering in a purported “green” mining venture.

In September 2021, the district court entered a consent judgment against Portalatin. In February 2023, the SEC obtained a final judgment in the U.S. District Court of Puerto Rico against defendants Back to Green and José Jiménez Cruz.

The SEC’s complaint alleged that, from August 2016 until at least 2020, Back to Green, Jiménez, and Portalatin offered and sold to retail investors in Puerto Rico and at least five US States the opportunity to share in the profits of a purported Colombian gold mining operation.

According to the complaint, the offering, which was not registered with the SEC, was part of a fraudulent scheme that raised approximately US$2.7 million.

Jiménez and Back to Green allegedly placed advertisements promising investors exorbitant returns, and each of the defendants presented investors with materials that falsely stated that all permits necessary to mine in Colombia had been obtained. Subsequent to the provision of these materials, Portalatin was alleged to have signed contracts with investors when he knew that they had been misled.

Without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations:

  • Portalatin consented to permanent injunctions from future violations of the charged provisions and from participating in securities offerings not registered with the SEC, and to pay disgorgement of US$605,462, plus prejudgment interest thereon in the amount of US$64,312.25, and a civil penalty of US$160,000.
  • Back to Green and Jiménez consented to: permanently enjoining Jiménez from participating in securities offerings not registered with the SEC; paying, on a joint and several basis, US$1,995,538 in disgorgement, plus prejudgment interest of US$410,728; and to pay civil penalties of US$1,035,909 and US$207,183, respectively.

SEC September 2021 press release, February 2023 press release and complaint

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