SEC suspends trade in Atascadero firm

An Atascadero company is among 17 whose stocks’ trading was suspended Tuesday by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission in a move the agency said was part of its effort to prevent fraud in thinly traded penny stocks.

Trading in medical-record software firm Anywhere MD Inc. is suspended through June 20, The Associated Press reported.

The 17 companies affected are so-called microcap stocks that trade over the counter rather than on a major exchange.

The SEC said there were questions about the adequacy and accuracy of information the companies have publicly reported.

Executives at the Atascadero company could not be reached for comment.

Stock promoters can sometimes conduct fraud schemes by taking large positions in thinly traded stocks and artificially inflating their price by touting them.

The SEC said the suspensions arose from a joint effort by several regional offices, the agency’s office of market intelligence and its new microcap fraud working group.

The microcap fraud group is targeting stock promoters as well as brokers, attorneys, auditors and others who work with them, SEC Enforcement Director Robert Khuzami said in a statement.