The US Securities and Exchange Commission has leveled fraud charges against Chimera Energy, a start-up company alleged to have misled investors that it possessed technology to "end fracking."
SEC said that Chimera, whose shares were suspended from trading in 2012, was a shell company created by Andrew Farmer and led by "figurehead" chief executives Charles Grob Jr and Baldemar Rios.
The company issued three dozen press releases over two months talking up its "fracking alternative" when in fact the company possessed no such technology or licence to operate it.
"They seized on fracking as a topic of public discourse and aggressively touted an entirely fictitious business to attract unwitting investors," said David Woodcock, director of the SEC's Fort Worth office.
The company and three executives are charged with securities fraud, registration violations, and reporting violations.
"The SEC seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement with prejudgment interest and financial penalties, penny stock bars, and officer-and-director bars," the agency added.