SEC halts trading in Courtside Products; Spokane firm may be target

SEC halts trading in Courtside Products; Spokane firm may be target

John Stucke Staff writer

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has suspended the trading of Courtside Products Inc.’s stock, a small Spokane company that makes sports bags.

Listed on the pink sheets, which detail over-the-counter stock prices, Courtside shares were worth less than half a penny when the SEC suspended trades for 13 days beginning Friday.

The SEC was concerned that Courtside shares may be part of a “pump and dump” scheme. That’s because the company has been the subject of e-mail spam touting Courtside stock.

In a January press release, the company distanced itself from the e-mails and alerted investors that it was investigating.

“We are just as upset as the people who have received these erroneous e-mails, and I do not know, at this point, who may be behind them,” Lola Emter, CEO of the company, said in a press release.

Neither the company nor a Bellevue law firm representing it returned telephone messages seeking comment.

The company went public in October and shares immediately rose to about 8 cents. The stock fell sharply to about 2 cents per share by early November and then gradually declined further to less than a cent a share before the SEC intervened.

John Stark, chief of the SEC’s Internet enforcement division, said Tuesday that the SEC was concerned that Courtside may have abused federal securities rules.

An SEC bulletin cautioned brokers against handling Courtside shares.

Stark said someone had been hyping shares of Courtside to pump up its sagging price using a targeted spam campaign.

The company makes athletic bags that it markets as “sports specific.”

Sold under the brand “Sport Saq,” the company makes bags with ball pockets for basketball, soccer, baseball, volleyball and other activities.

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