Andrew Left

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Andrew Left
Born (1970-07-09) July 9, 1970 (age 44)
Detroit, Michigan
Occupation Financial analyst, financial writer, short seller
Years active 2001-Present
Organization Citron Research, formerly StockLemon.com
Website
citronresearch.com

Andrew Edward Left (born July 9, 1970, in Detroit Michigan) is an activist short seller, author and editor of the online investment newsletter Citron Research, formerly StockLemon.com.[1][2]

Citron Research[edit]

Founded in 2001, StockLemon.com changed its name to Citron Research in April 2007.[3] Citron Research provides critical, short-focused stock market commentary. Left researches and short sells companies he believes to be engaged in fraud, have been suspiciously promoted, or have been mistakenly overpriced by the stock market.[4][5][6][7] Jonathan Weil of Bloomberg commented on Left's work, saying, "If nothing else, Citron’s reports are a lot more fun to read than just about anything published by a mainstream Wall Street stock analyst."[8]

A 2011 profile of Left in the Financial Times said “The acerbic Mr. Left relies on a keen nose for sniffing out problem companies.”[9] The Financial Times and other business publications have reported on Left’s notable predictive accuracy.[9][10] A number of companies he has reported on were subsequently subjected to regulatory or law enforcement intervention, often resulting in steep drops in stock prices.[2] Left has been open in interviews that Citron makes its revenue through the short sale of stocks, and that he has sold stocks before criticizing companies online, citing that it is a legal practice and telling The Arizona Republic that "a guy has to make a living."[11][12]

Left has been featured as an expert commentator in a variety of media outlets, including Barron’s,[13] CNBC,[14][15][16] and CNNMoney.[17] Citron Research's report predicting the finding of financial fraud at Longtop Financial Technologies is cited in a 2011 Harvard Business School Case Study.[18] In 2012, he was a panelist at Columbia Business School's China Business Conference.[19]

Citron's Reports on Chinese Companies[edit]

Left's reports cover companies in the US and China, but he is known best for his reports on Chinese companies; in a five-year period, Citron Research published reports on 18 Chinese companies, 16 of which experienced a drop in stock prices, with 15 of them experiencing drops of over 70%.[12] This has caused a collective of Chinese business leaders, including Qihoo 360 CEO Zhou Hongyi (a company that has been targeted by Left), launch a site called CitronFraud.com.[20] Left sent a legal notice to the 60 Chinese executives involved, seeking an apology, and told Tech In Asia that he's consulting with lawyers and considering legal action in response.[21] Qihoo 360 has also threatened to take legal action against Citron, as well as former Google China chief Kai-Fu Lee, now the chairman and CEO of Innovation Works.[10][22]

The Nu Skin Enterprises Report[edit]

In 2012, Citron Research was the first to question the legality of operations by Nu Skin Enterprises on mainland China, stating that the company was operating an illegal multi-level marketing scheme.[23] Citing accounts from "undercover customers," Left posted reports that Nu Skin employees were promoting a pyramid-sales model to them, in violation of Chinese law.[24] The company denied the claims, with Nu Skin's CFO stating that its China operations were "kosher."[25]

Initially, the report drew some criticism, with Taesik Yoon of Forbes citing that, Citron had alleged that Nu Skin was practicing illegal multilevel marketing in China, no investigation had taken place.[26] In January 2014, the Chinese government announced that they were investigating the company in response to the allegations, causing the company's stock to drop almost 50 percent over two days.[27] The company, based in Provo, UT and linked to former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, continued to deny the claims.[28][29][30] The accusations were echoed in People's Daily newspaper, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party.[31] In February 2014, Saxena White P.A. filed a securities fraud class action lawsuit in the United States, alleging the company had failed to disclose “its fraudulent sales practices and non-compliance with Chinese laws and regulations.”[32]

Lawsuits[edit]

In response to the statements made in reports by Citron Research, Left has been the target of litigation multiple times. In a 2011 interview he claimed that he had never lost a case in the U.S.[12]

YP.Net[edit]

In 2004, YP.Net Inc., filed a defamation lawsuit in Arizona federal court against StockLemon after the website published a critical report on the company.[33] The case was dropped in August of the same year, following YP.Net's CEO being charged with conspiracy, money laundering and wire fraud.[34][35]

Salim Rana[edit]

In 2005, businessman Salim Rana sued Left and was awarded $2,500,000 damages in the Los Angeles Superior Court.[36]

iMergent[edit]

In 2005, iMergent Inc., filed a $15 million libel and defamation suit against StockLemon in Los Angeles Superior Court following the site's report on the company.[37] The suit was dismissed in 2006.[38] The company was later the target of class action lawsuits that alleged accounting irregularities and deceptive sales practices.[39]

GTX Global[edit]

In 2005, GTX Global Corp filed a suit against Left, charging claims of trade libel, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, securities fraud under California law, securities fraud under federal law, and conspiracy.[40] The suit was dismissed in 2007.[41] GTX Global CEO David Hagen was later convicted of securities fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering.[42]

Regulatory interventions[edit]

Since 2001, more than 50 companies covered by Left have become targets of regulatory interventions.

Company name Ticker Date first reported Type of regulatory intervention[clarification needed]
Xaibe Inc. OTCBB: XAIB Aug. 30, 2001 U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charge of stock fraud; company is defunct[43]
Humatech Inc. OTC Pink: HUMT Dec. 28, 2001 SEC charge of financial fraud[44]
Tel-One Inc. OTCBB: TLON Jan. 17, 2002 SEC charge of carrying out pump and dump scheme[45][46]
eUniverse Inc. NASDAQEUNI March 26, 2002 SEC investigation of accounting practices[47]
Concentrax Inc. OTC Pink: CRXN July 29, 2002 SEC charge of issuing false and misleading press releases[48]
Stratabase OTCBB: SBSF Aug. 2, 2002 Delisted: Aug. 19, 2004[49]
GeneMax OTCBB: GMXX Aug. 23, 2002 SEC investigation of stock fraud[50][51][52]
RTIN Holdings Inc. OTCBB: RTNH Feb. 11, 2003 Department of Justice charge of insider trading violations; CEO sentenced to imprisonment[53][54]
Spear & Jackson Inc. OTCBB: SJCK July 10, 2003 SEC charge of fraud; former CEO pays $6.1 million in penalties[55][56]
Interpharm Holdings Inc. NYSE MKTIPA Oct. 21, 2003 Delisted: April 22, 2008[57]
American Water Star Inc. OTCBB: AMWS Oct. 27, 2003 Delisted: Feb 2, 2006[58]
Verdisys / Blast Energy Services Inc. OTCBB: VDYS
OTCBB: BESV
Dec. 12, 2003 SEC charge of financial fraud; Chapter 11 bankruptcy declared (name change from Verdisys (VDYS) to Blast Energy Services (BESV) June 6, 2005)[59][60]
Immtech Pharmaceuticals Inc. NYSE MKTIMM Jan. 20, 2004 Delisting Notice: Dec 23, 2008[61]
Amerityre Corp. NASDAQAMTY Jan. 28, 2004 Delisting notice: Jan 15, 2010[62]
World Information Technology Inc. OTCBB: WRLT Feb. 4, 2004 SEC charge of carrying out pump-and-dump scheme[63][64]
YP.Net OTCBB: YPNT May 24, 2004 CEO indicted for conspiracy, money laundering and wire fraud[65]
Concorde America Inc. OTC Pink: CNDD Sep. 21, 2004 SEC charge of carrying out $32 million pump-and-dump fraud[66][67]
Law Enforcement Associates OTCBB: LENF Oct. 18, 2004 U.S. Department of Commerce investigation in 2011; Chapter 7 bankruptcy declared May 2012[68]
Telkonet Inc. NYSE MKTTKO Nov. 8, 2004 Delisting notice: Sept 3, 2009[69]
Absolute Health and Fitness Inc. OTC Pink: AHFI Dec 3, 2004 SEC charge of carrying out $32 million pump-and-dump fraud[66][67]
iMergent Inc. NYSE MKTIIG
NYSE MKTEXE
Feb. 24, 2005 Oregon and Wisconsin Departments of Justice charges of trade practice violations (name change from iMergent Inc. (IIG) to Crexendo Inc (EXE) in 2011)[70][71][72]
Bio-Heal Laboratories OTC Pink: BHLL March 30, 2005 SEC charge of stock fraud[73]
Raser Technologies Inc. OTCBB: RSTG
NYSERZ
June 20, 2005 Chapter 11 bankruptcy declared[74][75]
Homeland Safety International OTC Pink: SNFX
OTC Pink: HSFI
Aug. 1, 2005 SEC charge of carrying out $32 million pump-and-dump fraud scheme (name change from Sniffex (SNFX) to Homeland Safety Intl. (HSFI) in Aug. 2006)[76][77][78]
Global Development and Environmental Resources NASDAQGDVE Aug. 19, 2005 SEC charge of securities fraud[2]
GTX Global OTC Pink: GTXC Dec. 9, 2005 CEO found guilty of securities fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering[79][80]
Escala Group Inc. NASDAQESCL Jan. 4, 2006 SEC charge of accounting fraud[81][82]
Foldera Inc. OTCBB: FDRA March 30, 2006 Stock delisted, July 2008; company becomes CeCors[83]
Vertrue Inc. NASDAQVTRU May 23, 2006 Company goes private March 2007; declares Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2012[84][85]
GHL Technologies Inc. OTC Pink: GHLT May 31, 2006 SEC charge of issuing false press releases; company’s funds frozen[86][87]
Conversion Solutions Holdings Inc. OTCBB: CHSD
OTCBB: CSHD
OTCBB: FHAL
Aug. 9, 2006 SEC charge of stock fraud; CEO sentenced to 23 years imprisonment[88][89]
Syntax-Brillian Corp. NASDAQBRLC Nov. 6, 2006 Delisted; Chapter 11 bankruptcy declared[90]
Medis Technologies Ltd. OTC Pink: MDTL April 18, 2007 Common stock delisted by Nasdaq Aug. 20, 2009[91][92]
Xinhua Finance Media NASDAQXFML May 21, 2007 Department of Justice charge of fraud[93]
Hoku Scientific NASDAQHOKU June 6, 2007 Delisting announcement, July 13, 2012[94]
Home Solutions of America Inc. NASDAQHSOA Sep. 25, 2007 SEC charge of securities fraud[95][96][97][98]
Terra Nostra Resources Corp. OTCBB: TNRO Oct. 24, 2007 Delisted; Chapter 11 bankruptcy declared[99]
Bidz.Com Inc. NASDAQBIDZ Nov. 26, 2007 SEC investigation into company’s inventory disclosures Feb. 10, 2009; company goes private at .78/share May 17, 2012[100][101]
Basin Water Inc. NASDAQBWTR Apr. 7, 2008 SEC charge of accounting fraud; Chapter 11 bankruptcy declared[102]
Arthrocare Corp. NASDAQARTC May 2, 2008 Department of Justice charge of fraud for two former executives[103][104][105]
Ener1 Inc. NASDAQHEV July 16, 2008 Chapter 11 bankruptcy declared Jan. 30, 2012[106]
Amedisys Inc. NASDAQAMED Aug. 12, 2008 Department of Justice investigation[107]
Apollo Group Inc. NASDAQAPOL Jan. 13, 2009 SEC investigation of insider trading; Dept of Education investigation for abuse of government student loan programs using excessive recruiting tactics.[108][109][110][111]
Life Partners Holdings Inc. NASDAQLPHI Feb. 11, 2009 SEC charge of accounting fraud[112][113][114][115]
New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc. NYSEEDU April 16, 2009 SEC investigation of company’s financial statements[116]
China-Biotics Inc. NASDAQCHBT Aug. 30, 2010 Trading halted June 15, 2011; later delisted from Nasdaq[117]
Uranium Energy Corp. NYSE MKTUEC Dec. 3, 2010 SEC investigation of stock fraud[50][51][52]
China Valves Technology Inc. OTC Pink: CVVT Jan. 13, 2011 Delisted from Nasdaq to pink sheets[118]
China MediaExpress Holdings Inc. NASDAQCCME Jan. 30, 2011 Trading halted on March 11, 2011; later delisted from Nasdaq[119][120]
Longtop Financial Technologies Limited NYSELFT April 26, 2011 SEC charge of failing to file current and accurate financial reports; stock deregistered by SEC[121][122]
Deer Consumer Products Inc. NASDAQDEER April 4, 2012 Halted by Nasdaq for "additional information requested” on August 13, 2012[123][124]
Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc. NASDAQQCOR July 10, 2012 Department of Justice investigation of company’s promotional practices, Sept. 24, 2012[125]
Nu Skin Enterprises NYSENUS August 16, 2012 Regulatory probe of company launched in China, Class action lawsuit filed in U.S.[27][126]

Criticism[edit]

In 1998, Left was found by the National Futures Association to have “made false and misleading statements to cheat, defraud or deceive a customer", and disbarred for three years.[127]

In 2002, his then employer Detour Media sued Left for "fraud and deceit, negligent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty and unlawful monetary conversion".[128] He was ordered to pay $26,445.62 compensation.[129]

In 2010, Left was briefly arrested in Florida in relation to a petty[clarification needed] dispute with a drycleaner. The charges were subsequently dropped.[130]

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