Acting on investigations by agents in Philadelphia and three other cities, the Securities and Exchange Commission has suspended 18 penny stocks, including energy, medical tech and security companies, after finding they were being flogged by promoters, and bought by investors, despite failing to file financial reports, paying analysts for favorable recommendations, and other potential violations.

"They may be called 'penny stocks,' but victims of microcap fraud can suffer devastating losses," said SEC enforcement chief Robert Khuzami. He blamed lawyers, auditors, brokers and other professionals, often using Twitter, public stock websites and anonymous Web postings, for helping "insiders and promoters" rip off investors seeking to make a buck on the cheap.

The suspended stocks include:

Uniontown Energy Inc. (UTOG), of Henderson, Nev.
American Pacific Rim Commerce Group (APRM), Citra, Fla.
Anywhere MD, Inc. (ANWM), Altascadero, Calif.
Calypso Wireless Inc. (CLYW), Houston.
Cascadia Investments, Inc. (CDIV), Tacoma, Wash.
CytoGenix Inc. (CYGX), Houston.
Emerging Healthcare Solutions Inc. (EHSI), Houston.
Evolution Solar Corp. (EVSO), The Woodlands, Texas.
Global Resource Corp. (GBRC), Morrisville, N.C.
Go Solar USA Inc. (GSLO), New Orleans.
Kore Nutrition Inc. (KORE), Henderson, Nev.
Laidlaw Energy Group Inc. (LLEG), New York City.
Mind Technologies Inc. (METK), Cardiff, Calif.
Montvale Technologies Inc. (IVVI), Montvale, N.J.
SGI Security Solutions Inc. (MSGI), New York City.
Prime Star Group Inc. (PSGI), Las Vegas, Nev.
Solar Park Initiatives Inc. (SOPV), Ponte Verde Beach, Fla.
United States Oil & Gas Corp. (USOG), Austin, Texas.

In Montvale's case, the SEC says, promoters kept persuading investors to buy the stock even after the company announced it had gone out of business.

Reporter Teri Buhl, Connecticut's premier hedge-fund-watcher, offers this sample of penny-stock promotions the SEC wants to curb: http://www.thefirstreporter.com/press-releases/montvale-technologies-public-pinkivvi-mybestpicksevercom/