Donald Stoecklein, president and former lead counsel for the troubled binational railroad known as the Desert Line, has run into trouble in the form of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
On March 11, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint against Stoecklein for failing to pay a 1997 settlement agreement over "ill-gotten gains" he received in the sale of stock in a Nevada-based company known as SoftPoint Inc.
The complaint is the latest development in the saga involving the Desert Line.
Stoecklein has served as Pacific Imperial Railroad's president two times since 2011. During those years Stoecklein, Pacific Imperial (which entered into a 99-year lease with Metropolitan Transit System in 2012), and many of its boardmembers, have had to answer to numerous allegations of fraud.
Former employees and business partners have gone on record with allegations that Stoecklein and Charles McHaffie (self-proclaimed "consiglieri" for Pacific Imperial) are running more of a ponzi scheme than a railroad. A majority of the shareholders, including McHaffie, have been involved in numerous businesses together.
(To find out more about the allegations, see the following stories: April 14, 2014, June 30, 2014, July 9, 2014, July 13, 2014, August 6, 2014, September 10, 2014, November 11, 2014, January 13, 2015, January 28, 2015)
In its complaint, the Securities and Exchange Commission accuses Stoecklein of violating anti-fraud and registration provisions and being involved in several "transactions under which common stock in a Nevada corporation known as SoftPoint, Inc., was issued to foreign entities and then sold to the investing public through brokerage accounts opened by Stoecklein."
This from a September 1995 cease-and-desist notice:
"From 1992 through 1994, SoftPoint and certain individuals engaged in a fraudulent scheme for the purpose of raising capital for SoftPoint Inc…. [T]hat scheme included SoftPoint's reporting of fictitious sales to certain foreign entities and the issuance of stock to several of these same foreign entities. Most of the proceeds from the sales into the public markets of the stock which had been issued to the foreign entities was then remitted to SoftPoint and used to pay down the debt that appeared to be owed to SoftPoint as a result of the fictitious sales."
Stoecklein made $287,000 from the sale, allegedly pocketing $19,975. Doing so, says the complaint, triggered an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Stoecklein entered into a settlement agreement with the commission which required him to pay back the $19,975 plus interest.
The government never received the money and interest accrued. Now the Securities and Exchange Commission is demanding that he pay $73,751.
As of now it is uncertain whether Stoecklein will remain on board of Pacific Imperial. In January, Metropolitan Transit System executives announced that the company had been bought out by a new group of shareholders, one of whom was Jeffrey Kinsell, who has also had some run-ins with the Securities and Exchange Commission for his role in municipal bond schemes.
During a February interview, Jack Berkman, newly hired spokesperson for Pacific Imperial, declined to comment on whether the new shareholders will hire a new president. Berkman said the information will be provided during the March 12 Metropolitan Transit System board meeting.