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Early this month, the Securities and Exchange Commission settled a case against Margaret Grey, widow of the head of La Jolla's Nova Gen, which sold stock to investors on the claim that it had rights to a technology that would turn coal into ethanol or biodiesel fuel without emissions — a fantastic assertion. The stock salesman also said investors would make 464% in five years. The claims were "wildly unrealistic," said the SEC, noting that Nova Gen said it had assets and revenue when it had none. The claims continued after Grey's husband died, said the agency. Grey got the standard SEC punishment: she is barred from association with people in the investment business and from participation in any offering of a penny stock.

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