(Reuters) - U.S. securities regulators on Friday moved to drop their fraud case against Wall Street financier Benjamin Wey, about a month after prosecutors dropped a related criminal case after a judge threw out some evidence.
In a filing in federal court in Manhattan, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said its case relied on the same evidence as the criminal case, and that it believed it would no longer be able to use it.
Prosecutors and the SEC in 2015 accused Wey, the founder of New York Global Group, of making tens of millions of dollars by secretly controlling large blocks of shares through “reverse mergers” between Chinese companies and U.S. shell companies, and selling his shares at artificially high levels.
The SEC also sued Wey’s wife, Michaela Wey, who was not criminally charged.
“Today’s dismissal can only be described as a complete victory for our clients, Benjamin and Michaela Wey,” said David Siegal, a lawyer for the Weys.
SEC spokesman Ryan White declined to comment.
The criminal case against Wey collapsed in June, when U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan ruled that a huge cache of materials seized from Wey’s home and offices could not be used because they were obtained with overly broad search warrants that violated Wey’s constitutional rights.
Nathan said the seizure of items such as children’s school records, family photos and X-rays at minimum reflected “grossly negligent or reckless disregard” of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure.
Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe
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