Cancer Company Executives Acquitted

Four northwest Arkansas men were acquitted Thursday on federal fraud charges related to the sale of stock in their company through a stockbroker who was actually an FBI agent.
Jim Bolt, John Dodge, Melvin Robinson and Leroy Hoback were acquitted on five counts; four other counts in the original indictment had been dismissed by prosecutors at the start of the trial on Monday in an attempt to "streamline" the case. The four were executives of a Rogers company called Shimoda-Atlantic, which was looking for investors to fund clinical trials of a cancer treatment. The FBI said the men agreed to hide a kickback to a man they believed was a stockbroker with a client willing to invest $3 million in Shimoda-Atlantic.
Because they weren't convicted, the jury in U.S. District Judge Jimm Larry Hendren's court never heard that all four men had been accused of securities violations in the past. Bolt and Robinson have both served time in federal prison for white-collar crimes, and they and Dodge, a licensed attorney, were ordered by the Arkansas Securities Commission to stop selling stock in an earlier business venture, Golf Entertainment Inc.
State securities regulators also accused Hoback and another man of bilking more than $350,000 out of 32 unsophisticated investors. Arkansas Business Publishing Group, publisher of Arkansasbusiness.com, has had battles with Robinson, Bolt and Dodge after reporting on Golf Entertainment's financial irregularities beginning in August 2002. Bolt and Robinson sued the publishing company for libel but later dropped the claims. Bolt and Dodge were ordered to pay ABPG a total of more than $92,000 for legal fees incurred after they infringed on the publishing company's trademarks. Neither man has paid any of the judgment.
The Shimoda-Atlantic case was the subject of a lengthy story in Sunday's Dallas Morning News.