Doyen Elements Creates Confusion For Cannabis Investors

Small shareholders in penny stocks typically have little power. They don’t own enough to make much of a difference with the owners and spending money on speculative investments doesn’t warrant sympathy as the prevailing attitude is buyer beware. The cannabis industry is no different, but with the preponderance of penny stocks within the industry, there is a tendency for companies to play fast and loose with investor money.

The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA)  regularly receives complaints about marijuana-related investments, and the SEC continues to bring enforcement actions in this area. Back in 2014, the SEC issued temporary trading suspensions for the common stock of five different companies that claimed their operations related to the marijuana industry.

In September of 2018, The SEC charged a Texas-based investment fund and its founder with defrauding investors with false promises of massive returns in cannabis-related businesses.  Michael Cone allegedly employed boiler room sales staff who made cold calls to investors and promised them up to 24 percent annual returns from investments in Greenview. According to the complaint, Cone spent investors’ money on designer clothes and luxury cars, and on payments to earlier investors to prolong the alleged scheme.  In a parallel criminal proceeding, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California charged Cone and seized approximately $1.4 million in cash and assets.

Doyen Elements

Doyen Elements (now known as Reach Genetics) has left a string of investors out in the cold each telling a similar story. In November of 2017, Green Market Report reported that Doyen Elements was planning to publicly list its shares on the OTC Market, and was accepting investments prior to its IPO at $7.00 a share. Doyen Elements said it had big plans and was currently building one of the largest grow facilities in North America. “This 234,000 sq. ft. behemoth of a building will be capable of producing upwards of 70,000 pounds of cannabis per year”. The company also suggested it would be going public shortly. Several investors decided to jump in and received a confirmation of their purchase and then that was it. The money was taken and all communication stopped.

The CEO of Doyen at the time was Geoffrey Thompson and in September of 2017, the SEC alleged that Thompson, acting through a company called  Accelera Innovations Inc. and Synergistic Holdings LLC, sold approximately $1.7 million worth of Accelera stock to investors and that the sale was not registered or subject to an exemption from registration.

At the same time that the SEC filed the complaint about Thompson and Accelera, Thompson and Doyen Elements were selling shares online.  “In September 2017, I purchased 143 shares of Doyen at $7.00 per share,” said Robert Satten. “I received a subscription agreement from them and till this point in time nothing else……No ticker symbol, no number to call, nothing.”

Another investor Luis Dominguez and his wife Charity told a similar story. “I was reading a lot about the cannabis industry and I thought this was going to become a big thing. I thought whoever invests in this is going to make very big money. I told my wife and we started looking for information on the company. We thought the shares were cheap. We bought the shares through their website online.”

Dominguez also said he received no information after the initial purchase confirmation. He went to the company’s Facebook (FB) page to find a way to contact the company. “I called them and someone picked up the phone but she said the company was moving and she would try to get me more information,” Dominguez said that was the last time he spoke to someone He continued to call but no one answered the phone.

Then he heard Doyen Elements had been sold or merged to a new company called Reach Genetics. “So, I started calling the new company and still no one answered the phone,” he said. Eventually, the persistent Dominguez finally spoke to someone who answered the phone. “I told him my story and he sounded annoyed. He said the new company didn’t buy the part of Doyen that I had my shares with. That my shares were with Doyen Elements and he gave me a phone number to call.” No one ever answered the new phone number.

Two Doyens

Thompson said the confusion stems from the fact that there are actually “two” Doyens. Doyen International (Canada) and Doyen Elements (U.S.). Thompson said the Doyen Elements company is the group that is ignoring shareholders and has renamed itself Reach Genetics. He said that this is the company these shareholders really invested in, not Doyen International. He said that Doyen International sued Doyen Elements accusing the group of hijacking the Reg. A fundraising and requesting that they stop using the Doyen name.

One shareholder that asked not to be named said he did receive an email about the name change to Reach Genetics, but that the phone number and emails he sent went unanswered. Reach Genetics is currently selling new shares for once again $7 a share. Reach Genetics has not responded to requests for comment.

Earlier this month Doyen International, Inc. announced it was rebranding and renaming itself to Covalent Collective. In addition, the company announced Bill Gregorak would be the Chief Executive Officer. Prior to being named CEO, Mr. Gregorak served as Chief Financial Officer of Covalent Collective since February 2018. Mr. Gregorak takes over as CEO from Geoffrey Thompson, a co-founder of Covalent Collective, who will continue as leader of merger and acquisitions.

This is the third rebranding for this company as its original name before Doyen was Advantameds. To make matters more confusing, Doyen International changed its name in October 2017 to Cynterra Earth Sciences to make an acquisition of Boulder Hemp and Slo-Hemp, but then in November 2017 changed its name back to Doyen International. This is according to the company’s legal documents.

Thompson and the SEC

Thompson’s problems with the SEC are not over. The current complaint with the company Accelera is still ongoing. Thompson said the two (he and the SEC) are close to reaching a settlement. The SEC would not comment on the matter. Thompson said he expects that he will be barred from serving as on an officer of a public company for three years.

According to the SEC filing, “The complaint seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, civil penalties, an officer-and-director bar against Thompson, and penny stock bars against Thompson and Synergistic.” The SEC also separately charged Daniel Caravette, of St. Charles, Ill., with acting as an unregistered broker-dealer. Caravette’s alleged violations involved sales of stock in Accelera and a Canadian company founded by Thompson which claimed to be involved in medical marijuana production, distribution, infusion, research, and testing. The Canadian company referred to by the SEC but not named was Advantameds (the original Doyen).

Doyen’s Divorce

Thompson’s problems with the SEC meant that Doyen Elements wasn’t approved by the OTC to list its shares as originally planned. Remember, this is what the online investors in Doyen were told was imminent.  In order to try to reapply to the OTC again (according to court documents), Thompson retired from Doyen and surrendered his 16 million shares so that the company would have a better chance the next time it applied with the OTC.

The plan was that Thompson would leave the company so that its chances to get listed would be improved. According to one of the lawsuits, it was alleged that once Thompson had retired and surrendered his shares, the Doyen Elements folks set out to compete directly with the Doyen International folks. Taking the expensive rebranding work (over $200k) and the strategic plans with it.

Thus, the two Doyens split and Doyen Elements became Reach Genetics, which is unreachable and Doyen International became Covalent Collective. Thompson sued to get his shares back and rescind the retirement agreement.

Covalent Collective

Covalent just announced that completed its first acquisition which the company dubs the “Colorado 16.” This company includes ownership of real estate that leases multiple medical marijuana cultivations, production, and five Colorado medical cannabis dispensaries.

Looking Ahead

Some investors have said that Reach Genetics has begun to contact them, but with little information as to what has transpired. One investor who asked not to be named said, “They changed their name to Reach Genetics, now they did send me an e-mail saying that was their new name but that was last summer and I haven’t heard anything from them or anything about them. I have tried calling the toll free number for Reach Genetics and I have emailed them and I have emailed Cindy Boreum and each time I have not gotten any reply.”

Covalent Collective seems to be moving forward with Thompson, but not in a formal role. The company says that it has “A vision to build the largest grow capacity in the U.S.”

 

Debra Borchardt

Debra BorchardtDebra Borchardt

Debra Borchardt is the CEO, Co-Founder, and Editor-In-Chief of GMR. She has covered the cannabis industry for several years at Forbes, Seeking Alpha and TheStreet. Prior to becoming a financial journalist, Debra was a Vice President at Bear Stearns where she held a Series 7 and Registered Investment Advisor license. Debra has a Masters degree in Business Journalism from New York University.


15 comments

  • Avatar
    john

    March 6, 2019 at 11:19 am

    Investment victims win $22.7 million
    Here is another scam this Geoffrey thompson ran in Minnesota before doyen apparently the state of Minnesota obtained a 22.7 million judgement against him
    Fyi

    By SUSAN FEYDER , STAR TRIBUNE
    July 28, 2008 – 11:34 PM

    More than 130 plaintiffs who sued Investment Properties of Minnesota, alleging that the company duped them in a real estate scheme, have been granted $22.7 million in damages under an order filed last week in Hennepin County District Court.

    A court-appointed special master determined the damages, which were several times more than the $3.5 million in losses originally estimated by the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office. The office sued the Brooklyn Park-based investment company in 2006, but it later asked to be dismissed from the case after the plaintiffs obtained private counsel.

    The plaintiffs say Investment Properties of Minnesota (IPM) and several related entities solicited funds for Illinois and Florida real estate ventures during investment seminars in 2004 and 2005. Investors claim they were promised returns of 30 to 35 percent. Their suit alleged that IPM failed to make the investments and defaulted on the loans.

    Last week’s order by Judge Denise Reilly said IPM principals Joseph Cole and Jim Abbott took some of the money for their personal use. The order says that according to IPM’s check ledgers, Abbott withdrew almost $500,000 and Cole withdrew nearly $42,000 from July 2004 to March 2005.

    A court-appointed receiver earlier reported that some of the money was diverted into what turned out to be a mammoth investment scheme run by Travis Correll in Atlanta. Correll has admitted to operating a pyramid scheme and has been sentenced to 12 years in federal prison.

    “It’s good to have gotten this order, but collecting the money is another matter,” said Robert Bauer, an Apple Valley attorney for 134 victims of the scheme. “We will take every reasonable step to find out where it is located,” he said.

    Bauer said his clients will seek a motion that would prevent Cole, Abbott and two other principals, Geoffrey and Nancy Thompson, from having the judgments against them discharged in bankruptcy court.

    Attorneys for Cole and the Thompsons could not be reached for comment Monday. Abbott’s attorney, Konstandinos Nicklow, said his client “is an innocent victim who has been caught up” in the scheme.

    Susan Feyder • 612-673-1723

    Reply

  • Avatar
    Luos

    March 12, 2019 at 10:16 pm

    Man did I get fucked by this asshole

    Reply

    • Avatar
      John

      March 13, 2019 at 10:56 pm

      What happened?

      Reply

  • Avatar
    John

    March 13, 2019 at 10:17 pm

    Wait, I am invested with them currently. They are saying 80-120 days or so until filling for IPO. But I get regular updates with out calling them.

    Reply

  • Avatar
    Michael

    March 15, 2019 at 11:58 pm

    John….did you post the original comment about the $22.7 million investment scam in MN and the comment about being invested with the company?

    Reply

    • Avatar
      John

      March 19, 2019 at 12:39 am

      No, different person. But know Geoff was caught in a situation due to rogue partners.

      Reply

  • Avatar
    Janet ruhl

    April 1, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    I invested in Doyen Elements in Oct 2017 I tried contacting them through e-mail calling and they never contacted me back After months of tiring I received an e-mail from Rich Kaiser when I called him he told me about Reach Genetics and again started to contact them about my investment and as of today April 1 2019 .I haven’t heard anything Thank you I hope to hear from someone on what to do next.Janet Lee Ruhl

    Reply

    • Debra Borchardt
      Debra Borchardt

      April 1, 2019 at 6:11 pm

      Good luck. Sadly that seems to be many investor’s experiences.

      Reply

      • Avatar
        Janet

        April 4, 2019 at 10:15 am

        Debra is there any way to contact this company at all and does this mean it was a scam from the start

        Reply

        • Debra Borchardt
          Debra Borchardt

          April 4, 2019 at 10:39 am

          Hi Janet,
          I have no more information on how to contact Reach Genetics. Perhaps you should contact the Attorney General for that state? Maybe the investors can begin exploring a class action suit? I’ve done as much as a reporter can do. Good luck.

          Reply

          • Avatar
            Janet ruhl

            April 12, 2019 at 4:14 pm

            Can you please give me the state

  • Avatar
    Sana

    April 19, 2019 at 2:20 am

    The news is very old from 2008. That is not the entire story. The company is not a scam. As an investor I get regular updates. Geoff is a great guy who is working very hard to get us gains. People are jealous of his success so I think right when the company is about to go public they want to spread false information so the company does not succeed. There has been issues and I have been waiting for a while but it doesn’t mean this whole thing is a fraud. It’s complicated and it will be successful. Let’s nit loose focus because some reporter has reported her thoughts! Good luck to covalent Collective!

    Reply

    • Debra Borchardt
      Debra Borchardt

      April 22, 2019 at 7:32 am

      Dear Sana,

      I am happy that you get regular updates. The people with Reach Genetics have not been very communicative according to numerous other people. With regards to your suggestion that my reporting is only “my thoughts” please be advised that Geoff told me himself that he expected to SEC to ban him from serving as a director of a public company. I have this on a digital recording. I have no issue with Covalent and wish them success.

      Debra Borchardt

      Reply

    • Avatar
      Chris

      May 3, 2019 at 11:41 am

      Hi Geoff

      Reply

  • Avatar
    Aaron

    May 21, 2019 at 7:46 pm

    I also bought into doyen elements a few years ago and never received any communications.i called and recieved the same answers when they did answer of coarse, “We moved or were in the process, be patient”. I spent over $700 on those scammers and it has me very reluctant to ever try it again being it was the first time I have ever invested. Very irritated and Sooo disappointed!

    Reply

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