Litigation Release No. 25646 / February 23, 2023
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Back to Green Mining, LLC, José Jiménez Cruz, and Manuel Portalatin, No. 3:21-cv-01455 (JAG) (D. P.R. filed Sept. 21, 2021)
On February 22, 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission obtained a final judgment in the U.S. District Court of Puerto Rico against defendants Back to Green Mining, LLC and José Jiménez Cruz. The SEC filed its action on September 21, 2021, charging Back to Green Mining and its two managing members, Jiménez and Manuel Portalatin, with participating in a fraudulent and unregistered offering in a purported “green” mining venture. On September 23, 2021, the district court entered a consent judgment against Portalatin.
The SEC’s complaint alleged that from August 2016 until at least 2020, Back to Green, Jiménez, and Portalatin offered and sold to retail investors in Puerto Rico and at least five U.S. states the opportunity to share in the profits of a purported Colombian gold mining operation. According to the complaint, the offering, which was not registered with the Commission, was part of a fraudulent scheme that raised approximately $2.7 million. Jiménez and Back to Green allegedly placed advertisements promising investors exorbitant returns, and each of the defendants presented investors with materials that falsely stated that all permits necessary to mine in Colombia had been obtained.
Without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations, Back to Green and Jiménez consented to entry of a final judgment: permanently enjoining each of them from future violations of Sections 17(a), 5(a), and 5(c) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Exchange Act Rule 10b-5; permanently enjoining Jiménez from participating in securities offerings not registered with the SEC; ordering Back to Green and Jiménez to pay, on a joint and several basis, $1,995,538 in disgorgement, plus prejudgment interest of $410,728; and ordering Back to Green and Jiménez to pay civil penalties of $1,035,909 and $207,183, respectively.