A Seattle-based law firm says that two top executives of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc (Nasdaq: GMCR) exercised nearly $8 million in stock options prior to an SEC inquiry. GMCR filed amended forms with the Securities & Exchange Commission today that state that the two transactions made by one of the executives in September were, in fact, part of a pre-arranged trading plan executed in August.The law firm, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, is investigating allegations that the Waterbury coffee company made a series of materially false and misleading statements related to the company’s business and operations in violation of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. There also have been two separate lawsuits filed in Burlington.According to filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the two key executives at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters subsidiaries exercised large amounts of stock options in the weeks just prior to announcing to investors on September 28, 2010, that the company was the subject of an inquiry by the SEC into its ‘revenue recognition practices and the Company’s relationship with one of its fulfillment vendors.’SEC Form 8-KR. Scott McCreary, president of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters subsidiary Specialty Coffee Business Unit, exercised 200,000 Green Mountain Coffee Roasters stock options and sold them at $33.08 per share on August 18, 2010, filings with the SEC show. Total proceeds for the stock sales amounted to about $6.6 million.SEC Form 4 McCrearyMichelle Stacy, president of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters subsidiary Keurig Inc, exercised 30,000 Green Mountain Coffee Roasters stock options and sold them at $30.95 per share on August 18, 2010. She exercised another 5,000 options and sold them at $35.40 per share on September 13, 2010 and, finally, exercised 5,000 options at $37 per share on September 21, 2010. Total proceeds for the three stock sales amounted to about $1.3 million, SEC filings show. SEC Form 4 StacySEC Form 4 StacySEC Form 4 StacySEC Form 4a StacySEC Form 4a StacyHowever, the amended forms indicate that Stacy had entered into a 10b5-1 trading plan on August 13, 2010. The 10b5-1 is intended to avoid such an appearance of impropriety by pre-arranging sales of stock for executives, and other insiders, that are blind to the executive. The plan specifies ahead of time the amount, price and date at which the shares should be traded.GMCR’s Suzanne DuLong, VP of Investor Relations & Corporate Communications, said of the legal aspects of the case, “I can’t comment on pending litigation.”As for the SEC inquiry, DuLong said, “We continue to cooperate fully and voluntarily.”Reed Kathrein, a partner with Hagens Berman, in an email said of today’s amended filing that it is “a little late to claim that it is not suspect.”Kathrein added, “The law is clear that a plan will not protect you if it is set up to take advantage of non-public inside information.”He added, “If the plan were properly put in place, at a very minimum, the ethical thing to do would be to put it on hold when material inside information is known. The company could have and should have closed all trading by insiders regardless of the plan.”The SEC’s Division of Enforcement informed GMCR on September 20 that it was conducting an inquiry and made a request for a voluntary production of documents and information.GMCR’s filing stated, “Based on the request, the Company believes the focus of the inquiry concerns certain revenue recognition practices and the Company’s relationship with one of its fulfillment vendors. The Company, at the direction of the audit committee of the Company’s board of directors, is cooperating fully with the SEC staff’s inquiry.”A class-action lawsuit has already been filed in US District Court in Vermont. The lawsuit alleges that Green Mountain artificially inflated the company’s stock price by issuing inaccurate and unreliable financial statements, which were not prepared in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and SEC rules.http://www.vermontbiz.com/news/october/green-mountain-coffee-facing-slew…The Hagens Berman’s investigation focuses on the SEC’s inquiry concerning ‘certain revenue recognition practices and the Company’s relationship with one of its fulfillment vendors.’ Neither the SEC nor Green Mountain Coffee Roasters management have disclosed details of the investigation.However, Hagens Berman released a statement saying that since Green Mountain Coffee Roasters’ largest fulfillment vendor, M Block & Sons Inc., warehouses physical inventory of Keurig machines and K-Cups, takes orders from retail customers, ships the products and collects receivables, it is possible that it concerns the propriety of so-called ‘bill-and-hold’ transactions. Under Financial Accounting Standards Board rules, if M. Block & Sons initiated such transactions due to inadequate warehouse capacity, the transactions may be proper. However, if the transactions were initiated by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters solely for the purpose of accelerating revenue, then they would be misleading.Following the close of trading on September 28, 2010, shareholders learned of the SEC’s inquiry into Green Mountain Coffee Roaster’s revenue recognition, that it had been notified by the SEC of this investigation as early as September 20, 2010, and that the company was expected to take a restatement charge in the near term ‘ rendering the company’s prior reported financial statements and reports unreliable, false and materially misleading. Following this announcement, shares of the company fell from $37 per share to a low of $27.47 per share. Its STOCK PRICE opened today at $33.40. About Hagens BermanSeattle-based Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP represents whistleblowers, investors and consumers in complex litigation. The firm has offices in Boston, Chicago, Colorado Springs, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Founded in 1993, HBSS continues to successfully fight for investor rights in large, complex litigation. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com(link is external). Source: Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP. SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–10.27.2010. http://www.hbsslaw.com/cases-and-investigations/GMCR(link is external). Vermont Business Magazine. Securities & Exchange Commission.
Lawyers for Brazilian football great Ronaldinho are trying to organize a hearing to get him temporarily released from detention for allegedly entering Paraguay with a fake passport, defense sources told AFP on Monday.Ronaldinho and his brother Roberto were arrested on Friday and held in pre-trial detention in Asuncion for entering Paraguay using forged documents.Sources close to his defense team told AFP the lawyers were trying to get the brothers a hearing on Tuesday in the hope of securing their temporary release. Topics : The brothers are spending a fourth day behind bars in the Paraguayan capital Asuncion, where late summer temperatures have soared to 40 degrees Celsius.Queiroz wants the pair to be released and allowed to return to their home country. He said prosecutors originally agreed that the footballer had acted in good faith before a judge ordered their detention, which Queiroz described as unwarranted.Ronaldinho, considered one of the greatest footballers of all time, was one of the stars of Brazil’s 2002 World Cup win and played for European giants Barcelona Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan, among others.He and his brother arrived in Asuncion from Brazil on Wednesday and showed their passports to immigration police, who did not immediately notice any problem with the documents.Hours later, when the passports were determined to be fake, investigators raided the hotel room Ronaldinho was staying in and seized the brothers’ identity cards and travel documents.Ronaldinho said the passports had been given to him by people who had invited him to attend conferences sponsored by charities working with disadvantaged children.A Brazilian businessman has also been arrested in connection with the fake passports, while two Paraguayan women have been placed under house arrest and Paraguay’s migration director has resigned.Queiroz said the brothers were offered the passports “to facilitate the possibility of doing business” in Paraguay.”The idea was to position Ronaldinho with brands and companies,” he added.Paraguayan president Mario Abdo on Monday revoked by decree the legal status of the foundation that invited Ronaldinho to the country.Defense lawyers for the “Angelic Fraternity” foundation’s administrator, Dalia Lopez, acknowledged that she had requested official Paraguayan passports for the brothers but said she had no idea that those delivered were fakes.Authorities have issued a warrant for her arrest.Lopez’s lawyers said the brothers had handed over $5,000 to “accelerate the process to issue the passports” and that she “never suspected” intermediaries dealing with the request would have submitted false information to authorities.Her lawyers also denied she had paid Ronaldinho to come to Paraguay or that she was involved in business with him.But the arrested businessman, Wilmondes Sousa, claimed Lopez was responsible for making the fake passports. Brazilian press reported that the country’s justice minister, Sergio Moro, had contacted Paraguayan authorities over Ronaldinho’s case.”Moro only called to obtain information on the case, because… the Brazilian government is following it,” a justice ministry official said, denying that Brazil was trying to meddle in the case.Ronaldinho’s Brazilian lawyer Sergio Queiroz has previously insisted that the two-time world player of the year’s detention was “illicit, illegal and unlawful.””Ronaldinho did not commit a crime because he did not know that the passport they gave him was faked,” he said.
The No. 1 USC men’s water polo team racked up five more victories over the weekend en route to its ninth SoCal tournament championship in 10 years, defeating UC Santa Barbara 14-5 in the championship game. The four-game tournament sweep came after a 22-5 victory over Princeton on Friday.Different story · USC finished a disappointing fourth in last year’s SoCal tournament, dropping two of the three games it lost in 2011. After Sunday’s SoCal tournament championship win, USC is now 14-0 to begin the season. – Ricardo Galvez | Daily Trojan“We looked very good,” USC coach Jovan Vavic said. “Our defense was very consistent each game, and offensively we did a better job at finishing our high percentage opportunities. I was very pleased with how we played.”The Trojans’ tournament crown redeeems them from last year’s disappointing showing, in which the team lost two games in a row to place fourth.“Last year was disappointing,” junior two-meter Jeremy Davie said. “We used that to motivate us for this year. We didn’t want to have that result again. We watched the tape from last year, and we were very well-prepared for this weekend.”The star of the tournament was junior driver Nikola Vavic, who scored 16 goals over the five-game weekend, including a career-high six in the finals victory.“Nikola so far has had a very good year,” Jovan Vavic said. “He’s not only scoring, which he has always been able to do, but he is also making assists and making his teammates better.”The team got off to a hot start Friday, dismantling Princeton at the outset of the game and displaying excellent focus. With the tough task of playing five games in three days, team captains stressed the importance of concentrating on the task at hand — rather than the long slate of games — to remain sharp.“We address complacency whenever we see it,” senior driver Andrew Reego said. “We get on guys, we’ll meet as a team to assess why we’re playing or practicing poorly and we’ll get back on track.”That drive was evident this weekend, as USC wasted no time jumping ahead in its opening round game against St. Francis. Vavic led the way with four goals while Davie chipped in three to provide sophomore goalie Ely Bonilla all the cushion he needed as the team won 15-4.In the second-round matchup, USC faced fellow Mountain Pacific Sports Federation foe No. 8 Pacific. The Tigers put up more of a fight, but the Trojans were able to tame them with three goals from sophomore driver Kostas Genidounias, winning by a score of 9-4.On Sunday, USC was able to do what it could not in last year’s tournament: avoid the crushing upset. This proved to be a challenge for other highly ranked teams in the field, however, as both No. 4 Cal and No. 2 UCLA tripped up on their way to the championship game. As a result, USC played No. 5 UC Irvine in the semifinals, winning by a score of 10-5.After an evenly played first quarter, the Trojans scored five unanswered goals in the second and third periods to distance themselves from the Anteaters. Once again, Vavic and Genidounias led the team’s scoring, tallying three goals apiece. Bonilla and junior goalie James Clark split time in the cage and made 12 saves total — eight for Bonilla and four for Clark.“Both of our goalies are excellent,” Jovan Vavic said. “They did a great job for us. We improved our team defense. Our players were more aware, they communicated better. I was very pleased with our younger players. They played significant minutes, and they played well.”In the championship game, USC took on host No. 6 UC Santa Barbara after the Gauchos upset No. 2 UCLA.UCSB was unable to capitalize on its home-court advantage, as the Trojans raced ahead of the Gauchos, with Nikola Vavic scoring the first three goals of the game. After UCSB cut the lead to 4-2 in the first quarter, USC went on a scoring run with goals by Genidounias and junior two-meter Connor Virjee to push the lead to 9-3 at halftime.The onslaught would continue in the second half, as Clark and the Trojans defense shut out UCSB in the third quarter to give the team an 11-3 lead heading into the fourth. With the result secured for all intents and purposes, the two sides alternated goals to push the final score to 14-5.“[Nikola Vavic and Genidounias] are both very talented offensively,” Jovan Vavic said. “They are difficult to defend because they have multiple weapons. Not only are they scoring, but they actually lead the team in assists. They do a great job of setting other people up as well.”The successful weekend boosts the Trojans to 14-0 on the season and leaves them in top form. Though the team is pleased with its results to date, Jovan Vavic stressed that his players are looking forward to the next challenge.“One of the keys in having a successful season is not getting too high or too low,” Jovan Vavic said. “We have good leadership on our team. Our guys know that this is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Our players are mature enough to understand this.”The team will have the week off before heading north to face conference rival No. 3 Stanford on Saturday, providing USC with yet another test against a national power.“Three years ago, we went to Stanford and did not play well,” Jovan Vavic said. “They had a large crowd, we had a tough time scoring and they beat us. We know how difficult that place is to play, and we’re going to be ready.”