AgEagle Aerial Systems, Inc. (UAVS) Misled Shareholders to Believe it Had Entered into a Contract with Amazon
On September 3, 2019, AgEagle issued a press release announcing that it was entering the commercial drone package delivery market. In the release, then-CEO Barrett Mooney listed numerous companies that were “actively developing commercial drone-delivery service initiatives as part of their long-term strategic plans” and announced AgEagle’s first purchase order to manufacture and assemble unmanned aerial vehicles “to meet the critical specifications for drones that are meant to carry goods in urban and suburban areas.” Throughout the relevant period, defendants touted the impact of the purchase order on the Company, and made statements and took actions that led to speculation of a partnership between AgEagle and Amazon.
On October 14, 2020, The Wichita Business Journal broke the news that Amazon did not – and never had – a partnership agreement with AgEagle. Then, on February 18, 2021, Bonitas Research published a report revealing that AgEagle “was a pump & dump scheme orchestrated by … AgEagle founder and former chairman Bret Chilcott and other UAVS insiders to defraud U.S. investors.” On this news, shares of AgEagle fell over $5.00, or more than 36%, to close at $8.96 on February 18, 2021, damaging investors.