Regulator Sues Metal Dealer For Allegedly Cheating Buyers
5/15/2013 5:41:17 PM
Federal regulators are after a Florida precious metals company and its owner, claiming they stole more than $800,000 from investors. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission said Michael Ghaemi and Global Precious Metals Trading Company LLC, of the Miami, Fla. area, ripped off nine customers who believed they were paying to buy and store gold, silver, platinum, and other metals. The customers also paid for loans to finance portions of the deals, the CFTC said. But the agency is charging that no metals were actually purchased, and the loans were bogus. The CFTC also said Ghaemi used customer money to pay himself and underwrite his car notes, travel, and entertainment. The agency has sued Ghaemi and his company in federal court and is asking for injunctions and restitution.
FINRA Fines Three Companies For Ignoring Money Laundering
5/15/2013 5:36:52 PM
A financial industry regulatory group has fined three firms for failing to keep a close enough eye on money laundering activities. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said its has leveled a total of $900,000 in fines against the companies, and also fined and suspended four executives. The firms include Atlas One Financial Group, LLC, of Miami, Fla.; Firstrade Securities, Inc., of Flushing, N.Y.; and World Trade Financial Corp., of San Diego. Firstrade, an online company catering to the Chinese community, failed to report suspicious trading of Chinese-issued stocks, FINRA said. WTF was accused of failing to properly monitor illegal activities in penny stock trades, and Atlas also ignored red flags warning of improper activity.
D.C. Judge Throws Out Charges After Seven-Year Litigation
5/15/2013 5:32:56 PM
A federal judge in Washington, D.C. has ended seven years of litigation by dismissing civil fraud charges against Gary Prince. His attorneys, Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, said Judge Gladys Kessler rejected all six charges filed against Prince, who had been accused by the Secuurities and Exchange Commission of conspiracy, harming investors, and making material misrepresentations. The ruling came in a 118-page opinion after a three-week bench trial, the law firm said.
Mortgage Servicing Company To Pay $14 Mil To Settle Lawsuit
5/15/2013 5:29:38 PM
A mortgage servicing company has agreed to pay $14 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that it misled investors about practices that harmed homeowners during the foreclosure process. According to a report by Thomson Reuters, Lender Processing Services, Inc. entered the agreement in a Jacksonville, Fla. federal court. The company and several of its executives had been accused of making false or misleading statements regarding fees and illegal document filings. The company's stock subsequently plummeted by 18 percent during a seven-month period ending in 2010, Thomson Reuters said. Lender Processing did not respond to comment requests after the settlement was announced, the news service added.
Delray Beach Resident Charged With Fla. Land Ponzi Scheme
5/15/2013 5:25:14 PM
Florida police have arrested Leonard Ansill, of Delray Beach, on charges that he collected $1.1 million from investors in a Ponzi scheme. WPTV News reported that Ansill allegedly sold investments he claimed were secured by mortgages on properties located from Miami to Jupiter, Fla. The mortgages never actually existed and Ansill paid early investors with money received from later ones, according to a complaint filed by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, WPTV said.
'Criminal Club' Member Gets Prison Time, $5 Million Fine
5/15/2013 7:12:30 AM
A member of a government-described “criminal club” that bounced around insider trading tips like basketballs is now going to the federal pen for 6 ½ years. New York City resident Anthony Chiasson, 39, has been sentenced in Manhattan federal court following his conviction in a six-week securities fraud trial. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Chiasson - a founder and portfolio manager at Level Global Investors - was part of a ring of stock analysts and traders who made millions by trading on inside tips about pending developments at corporations. One of Chiasson's financial victories that ultimately helped lead to his court defeat was a series of trades based on tips about the quarterly earnings of Dell, Inc. He reportedly hauled in an illegal $58.5 million from that. Now, aside from serving prison time, Chiasson will also pay a $5 million fine, prosecutors said.
Feds Now Targeting Broker In Commodity Inside Trading Case
5/15/2013 7:06:47 AM
Federal regulators have added a new name to the list of those charged in an extensive commodities insider trading case. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission said Ron Eibschutz, a commodity broker, is now a defendant in its federal insider trading complaint against William Byrnes, Christopher Curtin, and the New York Merchantile Exchange, Inc. The CFTC alleges that between 2008 and 2010, the NYME, Byrnes, and Curtin gave insider trading information to Eibschutz on at least 72 different occasions. Information that was bantered around included details of recent trades, identities of the parties involved, and the numbers of contracts traded. The CFTC is seeking civil penalties along with trading and registration bans against the involved parties.
Hammer Of Justice Falls Hard On Four Chicago Scam Defendants
5/15/2013 7:00:35 AM
In the span of a few days last week, four people were sentenced in Chicago federal court for pulling investment scams that stripped large numbers of investors of their life savings. The U.S. Attorney said two of the four, Michael Morawski, 56, and Frank Constant, 59, received 10 years and 7 ½ years respectively in prison for stealing from investors in a real estate scheme. The two were also ordered to pay $18 million in restitution. A third man, 44-year-old James Brandolino, was sentenced to nearly nine years and ordered to repay more than $3.8 million to 50 investors he swindled for seven years. And finally, Christopher Vaelesi, 54, received five years in jail and will pay more than $638,000 for roping investors into a scam he called Gold Coast Futures and Forex, the FBI said.
Former ArthroCare Executive Enters Plea To Pumping Sales
5/15/2013 6:56:12 AM
A former executive for a Texas-based medical device company has pleaded guilty to grossly inflating the firm's earnings, to prop up its stock prices. The FBI said David Applegate, 54, has pleaded to charges of making false statements and conspiring to commit securities, mail, and wire fraud, for actions he took at ArthroCare Corp. He was charged with “parking” voluminous product orders at distribution centers and counting them as actual sales, thus inflating ArthroCare's revenues by “tens of millions of dollars,” federal prosecutors said. Applegate could get a maximum of five years in prison on each charge. His co-defendant, John Raffle, is scheduled for trial on July 14, the FBI said.
Trial Set For SAC Hedge Fund Manager Steinberg In November
5/15/2013 6:51:20 AM
A Nov. 18 criminal trial has been scheduled for Michael Steinberg, a hedge fund manager for Steven A, Cohen's SAC Capital Advisors, Thomson Reuters reported. Steinberg has pleaded not guilty to five counts of conspiracy and securities fraud for allegedly making an illegal $1.4 million. He is charged with using advance, non-public information to make trades in the stocks of Dell Inc. and Nvidia Corp. in 2008 and 2009. Steinberg is one of nine former or current SAC employees charged with insider trading. He is now on paid leave from the firm, Thomson Reuters said
Two So. Calif. 'Street Angels' Now Headed To Federal Lockup
5/13/2013 5:50:32 PM
When it comes to chutzpah, Isaiah Konkus and Justin Petersen - who did business as “Street Angels” and “SoCal Tax Consultants” - looked like winners. Not so fortunate were homeless people, drug addicts, and single mothers the two men roped into their tax scam. The U.S. Attorney in San Diego has now announced that Konkus and Petersen will each serve 10 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy and filing false tax returns. For three years beginning in 2008, the two approached people on the streets of San Diego at trolley stations and homeless shelters, convincing them to sign tax returns. Konkus and Petersen then filed the fraudulent returns, receiving money under the Earned Income Credit program. They filed more than 1,000 tax returns for amounts as high as $8,000 each, and also charged their “customers” up to $2,500 apiece, prosecutors said. The two men used their spoils to purchase drugs, a Humvee, a fishing trip, and a New Year's Eve stay at a luxury hotel in the San Diego Gaslamp District. Their new prison cells will no doubt pale in compasion.
Hedge Fund Manager Pays $4 Mil; Gets A Slap On Wrist From SEC
5/13/2013 5:44:53 PM
Call it a paper tiger agreement: The Securities and Exchange Commission has effectively barred a hedge fund manager from the investment business, all the while allowing him to still retain control of his company. Complicance Week reported that hedge fund adviser Philip Falcone will remain in control of Harbinger Capital Partners LLC, despite a settlement with the SEC. In 2012, Falcone and the firm were sued by the agency for, among other things, using client funds to pay taxes, manipulating bond prices, and buying securities in a public offering after short-selling the same securities during a restricted period. Compliance Week added that Falcone will personally pay $4 million of an $18 million penalty.
FINRA, SEC Issue Warning On Income Settlement Sales Deals
5/13/2013 5:40:19 PM
Two financial industry regulatory agencies have issued an alert that warns consumers about the dangers of selling pension or settlement income streams. The SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said hucksters often target people who win income settlement streams from personal injury lawsuits. But accepting an immediate cash payment and giving up the future income can be risky business. The SEC and FINRA said hazards to the sellers may include high commissions, difficulty selling if you ever decide to get out of the contract, and federal laws that may prohibit them altogether. Look carefully before leaping, the agencies advise.
Indictment: South Dakota Case Included NBA Star As A Victim
5/13/2013 5:33:58 PM
A Sioux Falls, S.D. man has been indicted for allegedly stripping investors of $10 million in a Ponzi scheme whose victims included a professional basketball player. The Rapid City Journal reported the charges against Randal Kent Hansen, 65, saying he also faces federal civil charges for the same scam. His Ponzi scheme victims included NBA basketball star Mike Miller, the newspaper said.
California Defendant Pleads As Part Of $5 Million Scheme
5/13/2013 5:29:46 PM
Timothy E. Shannahan has pleaded guilty in the Southern District of California to acting as a straw buyer in a sweeping mortgage fraud scheme. The U.S. Attorney's Office said Shannahan admitted to acting in concert with Kathryn Sylvester, who ran Sylvester Financial, Inc., when he claimed on a home mortgage application to make $50,000 per month. Prosecutors said the false claim was made to get a mortgage in the posh La Jolla community. Loans obtained in Shannahan's name resulted in losses as high as $1 million, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. He became the fourth person to plead guilty in the scheme. Charges against Sylvester - who is accused of orchestrating a $5 million mortgage fraud ring - remain pending. Shannahan faces a maximum prison term of 20 years after pleading to wire fraud conspiracy, the government said.
Former Top Enron Executive Will See Prison Time Shortened
5/13/2013 7:42:39 AM
Thousands of former Enron employees who lost jobs and retirements in the company's 2001 collapse must be perplexed to see their former boss now having his prison sentence shortened. Jeffrey Skilling, 59, Enron's former chief executive, will now have his 24-year prison term sliced to as little as 14 years, meaning he could be free in late 2018, Thomson Reuters reported. A resentencing will take place after a federal appeals court upheld his conviction, but also decided the original penalty was too harsh. Skilling has been in prison since late 2006 for his part in the Enron tragedy. In exchange for the new deal, he must promise to stop filing repeated appeals of his criminal conviction.
Massachusetts Lawyer's Wife Sentenced For Embezzlement
5/13/2013 7:38:26 AM
A Massachusetts woman has been sentenced after a 10-day trial for stealing from clients at a law firm she operated with her husband. The Newburyport News reported that Lee Peck Eu Unitt, 48, of Merrimac, Mass., was sentenced to four consecutive two-year terms in prison for stealing from clients of The Crest Group LLC, a law firm where she worked as a business manager and paralegal. Unitt will also serve up to 20 years probation after her jail time is completed. Her husband, attorney Peter Unitt, goes on trial in July for conspiracy, larceny, and embezzlement, the newspaper said.
Zeek Rewards Losers Can Now File Online Claims For Damage
5/13/2013 7:34:09 AM
Victims who lost millions of dollars to Zeek Rewards, a North Carolina-based Ponzi and pyramid scheme, have until Sept. 5 to file online claims for damages they suffered. The Dispatch newspaper reported that a federal judge has approved a claims process plan submitted by a receiver in the case. The receiver has collected more than $300 million to be distributed to an estimated 800,000 people worldwide who lost money in Zeek Rewards. Once submitted to www.zeekrewardsreceivership.com, the claims forms will be evaluated for payment, The Dispatch added. The Lexington, N.C.-based scam was stopped by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2012.
Former Dallas Cowboy Involved In Texas T-Bill Ponzi Scheme
5/13/2013 7:29:29 AM
Michael Kiselak, who once played for the Dallas Cowboys, has not been criminally charged for soliciting investments in a $25 million Ponzi scheme involving a phony U.S. Treasury Bill swap program. But the Fort Worth Star-Telegram said Kiselak was found liable in a federal civil action for $20 million in the scheme, which sent a colleague of his to prison. The newspaper said Kiselak raised money through his own company, then funneled it into a firm operated by Jeffrey Sykes as part of the scam. While Kiselak, a former center and guard for the Cowboys, was not charged, Sykes has now been sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to repay $17 million, the Star-Telegram said.
Need An 88-Foot Luxury Yacht? Madoff's 'Bull' On The Market
5/13/2013 7:18:59 AM
The tides of crime roll around for a long time. Now, Trade Only Today, a marine industry publication, has reported that Bernard Madoff's 88-foot yacht - which cost $7.9 million when he commissioned it in 2007 – is on the auction block again for $5.5 million. The Bull, an 88-foot, Italian-built yacht, went on the market along with the rest of Madoff's homes and toys when he went to prison for pulling the biggest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history. Now it's on the block again, after a series of Russian buyers failed to come up with the money, Trade Only said.
Fannie Mae, KPMG Pay $153 Mil To Settle Pension Funds Lawsuit
5/9/2013 5:42:53 PM
Mortgage finance company Fannie Mae and accounting giant KPMG will pay $153 million to settle a class action lawsuit charging them with inflating the worth of Fannie Mae's securities. A judge must approve the settlement, Thomson Reuters reported. The defendants did not admit wrongdoing in settling the lawsuit, brought by investors who bought Fannie Mae stock from April 2001 through December 2004, the news service said. Lead plaintiffs in the case were the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio.
New York Brokerage Officials Charged In Venezuelan Bribery
5/9/2013 5:38:16 PM
Federal regulators say they have cracked an extensive fraud case involving bribes paid by a New York brokerage firm to make high profits in Venezuelan financial deals. The kickbacks were paid to a high-ranking Venezuelan finance official, the Securities and Exchange Commission said, to get the bonding business of the state-owned bank in that country. In all, four executives at the New York firm, Direct Access Partners, executed foreign sovereign bond debt trades that brought $10 million in revenues flooding into its bank accounts. The execs, who live in Florida and Panama, now face charges in the case, which an SEC official described as “staggering in audacity and scope.” The investigation is continuing, the SEC said.
Socialite Gets 19 Months For A Scheme That Made Millions
5/9/2013 5:34:03 PM
A New York socialite who stole millions from corporations to support an extravagant lifestyle has been sentenced to 19 months in prison. USA Today detailed the downward spiral of Dina Wein Reis, 49, who spent years persuading companies to provide her with free or discounted products, promising to resell them through “a vast network of retail outlets” that were nothing more than shell corporations, the newspaper said. Reis then resold the cheap goods for profits and kept the money, prosecutors charged. She has now been sentenced in New York and agreed to pay $7 million, which included restitution, fines, and forfeitures, USA Today said.
Hedge Fund Manager To Plead To Covering Up $9 Mil In Losses
5/9/2013 5:29:48 PM
A hedge fund manager in Charlotte, N.C. is expected to plead guilty to hiding losses from his investors, costing then nearly $9 million. Hispanic Business reported that Stephen Ewing Maiden will plead to one count of securities fraud for disguising losses in his Maiden Capital Opportunity Fund. The fund was launched in 2006 and was losing money by 2009, prosecutors said. It went belly-up by July 2012. All the while, Maiden hid the losses by sending out fraudulent account statements, Hispanic Business said.
Massachusetts Couple Charged With Taking Millions In Scam
5/9/2013 5:25:43 PM
A federal judge in Massachusetts has frozen the assets of a West Roxbury man accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of bilking investors out of $5.5 million. According to a local newspaper, the Roslindale Transcript, 55-year-old Steven Palladino and his wife, Lori, are accused of soliciting investments to make high-interest loans to developers and small businesses. But most of the cash from investors was allegedly used to pay for gambling sprees, vacations, and luxury cars, the SEC has charged. A county grand jury has also issued indictments against the couple, the newspaper added.
Toronto Pastor & His Wife Charged In $8.6 Mil Ponzi
5/9/2013 7:16:21 AM
A Canadian pastor and his wife have been charged by Toronto police with operating an $8.6 million Ponzi scheme that left some victims - most of them church congregants - financially maimed by their losses. The Globe and Mail said Marlon Gary Hibbert, 49, and Verna Hibbert, 48, drove luxury cars and lived in an elegant home while they allegedly sold bogus investments and required parishioners of Toronto's Masonic Church of God to make minimum investments of $10,000. No money was actually invested, detectives said, and the Hibberts used cash from newer investors to repay earlier victims. A third person has also been charged for sending phony, positive account statements to investors. More charges and arrests are expected, the newspaper added.
Fraudulent T-Bill Program Nets 10 Years Prison & Restitution
5/9/2013 7:11:53 AM
Jeffrey J. Sykes, of San Bernardino County, Calif., has been sentenced in Fort Worth, Texas to 10 years in prison for running a phony U.S. Treasury Bill trading program. The Star-Telegram said Sykes, 54, and another man solicited $24.6 million for the program from their victims, but no T-Bill trades were ever made. Sykes, who pleaded guilty to two counts of securities fraud, was also ordered to pay nearly $17 million in restitution, the Star-Telegram added.
The 'King Of Biotech' Is Given 4 Years For 2007 Wash Trades
5/9/2013 7:07:21 AM
A trader once known as the “King of Biotech” has been sentenced in New York federal court to four years in prison. The Chicago Tribune reported that David Blech, 57, had pleaded guilty to conducting wash trades of a biotechnology penny stock in 2007, illegally making $1.2 million. In 1998, Blech had pleaded guilty in a similar case and got off with five years of probation. Not this time, The Tribune reported. “No mercy. This time, punishment,” the newspaper quoted the sentencing judge as saying.
SEC Charges Harrisburg With Covering Up Financial Chaos
5/9/2013 7:01:39 AM
Federal regulators have settled allegations that the City of Harrisburg, Pa. withheld critical information from the public on millions of dollars worth of municipal bonds the city had sold to investors. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Harrisburg - a nearly bankrupt city - covered up or failed to disclose the fact that as of March, it had run up $260 million in bonded indebtedness, and failed to make $13.9 million in general service debt payments. The city neither denied nor admitted the SEC charges, but accepted an order settling the issue, regulators said.
Judge Freezes The Assets Of Forex Trader For Fraud Charges
5/9/2013 6:56:01 AM
A federal judge in Wisconsin has frozen the assets of a foreign currency trader and his company, after allegations that they lied to investors and misappropriated money. The order against David Prescott and Cambridge Currency Partners came afer charges by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which alleges that Prescott spent $455,000 of customer money on gambling and travel, and low-balled the risks of off-exchange foreign currency trading to investors. The CFTC said a status hearing in the case is set for May 15.
'Bidbay' Fraudster Given 120 Months For $10 Million Scam
5/7/2013 5:08:10 PM
A California man is going to federal prison for 120 months for selling unregistered stock in Internet companies and a phony energy firm, scamming victims across the country for $10 million. A news release from the U.S. Attorney in the Central District of California announced the sentencing of 56-year-old De Elroy Beller, Jr., who sold stock in Bidbay.com and other shell companies he falsely claimed would be acquired for $20 per share by eBay. Prosecutors said Beeler had received $4.8 milion in commissions on the sales. He was also involved with Wester Cooley, an 80-year-old former Oregon congressman who went to prison for one year after admitting he received $1.1 million from the scheme, prosecutors said.
Romanian Nationals Extradited For Bogus eBay Sales Charges
5/7/2013 5:02:37 PM
Three Romanian nationals have been extradited to the United States, and they're in hot water for allegedly running an online marketing scam that burned American consumers for more than $2 million. The FBI said a federal court hearing was held in the Eastern Distict of New York for Christea Mircea, 30; Ion Pieptea, 36; and Nicolae Simion, 37. They are charged with advertising on eBay and other U.S.-based Web sites to sell expensive merchandise that did not exist, including cars, motorcycles, and boats. Once consumers paid for the goods, the trio would e-mail fraudulent ownership titles and other documents to them, the FBI said. Each of the three is charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, and money laundering.
Feds Want 10 Years Jail Time For Pump & Dump Violations
5/7/2013 4:57:43 PM
Prosecutors in Oklahoma are pressing for a 10-year prison sentence for Joshua Lankford, who fled the United States for Costa Rica after being implicated in a $44 million pump and dump scheme. Stockwatch said the government is asking a judge to consider the length of time that Lankford lived in Costa Rica under assumed names, and the expense of having him caught there and extradited back to the U.S. Lankford was charged with joining others in falsely promoting three penny stocks that included National Storm Management Inc., a pink sheet stock they promoted as a successful storm reconstruction company following Hurricane Katrina.
'Mastermind' Pleads Guilty In $29.1 Million Medicare Fraud
5/7/2013 4:52:21 PM
The director of a network of Detroit-area medical clinics has pleaded guilty to directing a $29.1 million Medicare fraud ring. Federal prosecutors said Sachin Sharma, 37, was the mastermind behind the ring, which involved a network of purported psychotherapy and home healthcare operations that billed the federal government for patient treatments that were either unnecessary or nonexistent. Sharma will be sentenced on Aug. 8, and faces a maximum of 10 years in jail and a $250,000 fine, prosecutors said.
Former Pipeline Consultant Gets Prison Time For Bribery
5/7/2013 4:46:47 PM
Paul G. Novak, a former consultant for a subsidiary of a Houston-based oil piepline company, has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for paying $6 million in bribes to get a Nigerian contract. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Novak, 46, was sentenced in a Texas federal court for bribing officials of the Nigerian government and a Nigerian policitical party to win a $387 million pipeline contract for Willbros International in that country. Two other men in the conspiracy have already been sentenced to prison, Justice officials said. A third person, longtime Wilbros International executive Kenneth Tillery, remains a fugitive.
Indian Reservation Oil Case Leads To Convictions Of Four People
5/7/2013 7:34:38 AM
Following a seven-day federal jury trial in Great Falls, Mont., four people have been convicted of running a fraud ring that took money from elderly and infirmed people for Indian reservation oil and gas projects that did not exist. The FBI said those convicted included Steven William Carpenter, Suzette Gulyas Gal, Andras Zoltan Gal, and Kristian Zoltan George Gal. They were charged with raising $500,000 from gullible investors for a bogus oil and gas operation on the sprawling Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana. Prosecutors said that when the money was solicited, legitimate leases the group had held on reservation land were expired because of non-payment. The group's ringleader, Mike Campa, has already pleaded guilty, the FBI said. Group members variously face 25 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.
Is A Diamondback Poisonous? Todd Newman Found Out It Is
5/7/2013 7:27:55 AM
A hedge fund portfolio manager who was part of a “good old boy” club that bantered around insider trading tips and illegally made millions of dollars will be packing off to prison. Todd Newman, 48, has been sentenced to 54 months behind wire fences, said the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan. As a porfolio manager for Diamondback Capital Management LLC, Newman, of Needham, Mass., was one of a loosely knit ring of money managers and analysts who gained and passed along insider information affecting the stock prices of technology companies. Example: In May and August of 2008, prosecutors said, Newman made an illicit $4 million by trading on tips regarding upcoming earnings announcements for Dell, Inc. At his sentencing following a six-week trial, Newman was also ordered to forfeit $737,724 and pay a $1 million fine.
Feds Charge N.C. Forex Trader With Lying And Stealing Cash
5/7/2013 7:14:12 AM
A North Carolina man who solicited millions for a foreign exchange currency trading program has been charged with securities fraud, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in Charlotte. Prosecutors allege that James H. Mason, 66, of Graham, N.C., collected $4.7 million from 500 investors for over-the-counter foreign currency trading. He allegedly lied about his background and experience to get the business, then siphoned off large amounts for himself, and lost what little money he actually used for trades, the U.S. Attorney said. Mason could get a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and $5 million in fines.
Three Ill. Men Now Jailed For Pulling $3.6 Mil Ponzi Scheme
5/7/2013 7:03:50 AM
The final shoes have dropped in a Ponzi scheme involving three buddies who first met in prison, then celebrated their new freedom after release by scamming $3.6 million from 100 victims. Two of the men - Daniel Parrilli, 62, and John Lauer, 48 - have been sentenced in Illinois to 70 and 31 months in prison, respectively. A third man, 57-year-old Christopher Andersen, is already serving a 95-month term. Patch.com reported that the three solicited investments for a company that purportedly bought and sold films and comic book titles. Victims who fell for the scam often raised investment money by mortgaging their homes, spending retirement reserves, or using their children's college savings. Parrilli was also ordered to make $3.6 million in restitution, while Lauer will pay more than $457,000, Patch said. Andersen's restitution was set at $3.7 million.
California Con Artist Pleads To Stealing $47 Mil In Scams
5/6/2013 6:42:59 AM
A California man who ripped off $47 million from other people - including his own family members - for more than 10 years has pleaded guilty in federal court. The FBI said John Mark Moore, 51, of Nipoma, Calif., repeatedly stole from investors in four different schemes that included taking $13.8 million from his in-laws, established farmers in San Luis Obispo County. Moore now faces a maximum sentence of 100 years in prison when he is sentenced in Santa Ana on July 29, the FBI added.
Appeals Court Throws Out Money Laundering Convictions
5/6/2013 6:37:13 AM
A federal appeals court has reversed five of 15 convictions a jury issued against a Spring, Texas man in a $100 million insurance fraud case. KRGV News in South Texas reported the development in the case of Adley Abdulwahab, one of a group who defrauded investors in the A&O insurance scandal, using money from victims to underwrite lavish lifestyles for themselves. Abdulwahab was convicted at trial in 2011 and given a 60-year prison sentence. The appeals court has now thrown out money laundering charges against him and ordered a new sentencing, KRGV said.
Century City, Calif. Man Under Indictment In New Case
5/6/2013 6:31:52 AM
A Century City, Calif. man is back in trouble for pulling a second Ponzi scheme, federal prosecutors said in Los Angeles. Courthouse News Service reported that Shervin Davatgarzadeh – a/k/a “Shervin Neman” - was charged by securities regulators last year for targeting the Los Angeles Persian Jewish Community in a $3 million Ponzi scheme. Now, he has also been indicted for allegedly fraudulently raising another $2 million to repay victims of his first scam. Courthouse News said Neman also wrote a $2 million check to reinburse his latest victim, but - guess what? The check bounced. His newest charges include mail and wire fraud, the news service said.
Defendant Wants A Delay In Baltimore Ponzi Case Trial
5/6/2013 6:26:03 AM
A criminal defendant who allegedly took $9.2 million from investors in a Ponzi scheme by promising 60 percent annual returns is seeking a delay in his trial. The Maryland Daily Record reported that Larry Parrish wants copies of e-mails he allegedly exchanged with a goveernment witness. That could cause a postponment of his trial, currently scheduled for June 17 in Baltimore. Parrish has pleaded not guilty in the case and is now free on bond, the Daily Record said.
Disguised Futures Trades End With NFA Action In Fla. Case
5/6/2013 6:20:13 AM
The National Futures Association has announced an enforcement action against a broker in Coral Gables, Fla. The NFA said it took an Associate Responsibility Action against Robert Juan Escobio, a principal at Southern Trust Securities, Inc., for soliciting and accepting money from customers for investments in ST Metals, an unregistered and unregulated futures commission merchant. The action was based on a customer complaint from a woman who had assumed her investments would be made in physical metals trades, but learned the trades were actually futures transactions. Escobio has now liquidated all customer positions in ST, and is prohibited from acceping more money for the futures trades. He will have the opportunity to request a hearing before the NFA.
Hedge Fund Manager & Analyst Cough Up $21 Mil For Charges
5/2/2013 5:28:49 PM
A former hedge fund official and an analyst at the same firm have agreed to pay more than $21.5 million for insider trading charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC said the two men engaged in illegal trading in 2008-2009 during their association with Level Global Investors LP, in Greenwich, Conn. Anthony Chiasson, a co-founder and fund manager at the firm, received repeated advance tips on revenues and profit margins at technology companies from analyst Spyridon “Sam” Adondakis, regulators said. Chiasson made illegal stock trades based on the information, raking in millions in profits. Aadondakis has already pleaded guilty to related criminal charges, and Chiasson was convicted of securities fraud in 2012, the SEC said.
Brit Officials Say Profligate Boy Wonder Scammed $7 Million
5/2/2013 5:24:16 PM
A wonderboy British foreign exchange trader who recently made headlines for spending $327,000 in a single night at a Liverpool nightclub is in the news again - this time for charges that he and a chum defrauded investors of more than $7.7 million. Alex Hope, 23, has been charged by the British Financial Conduct Authority with 10 offenses for allegedly conducting anauthorized forex trading on behalf of customers. His co-defendant is Raj Von Badlo, the FCA said. Hope most recently got mixed reactions from the public when the press reported on his Liverpool party spree, which included paying for copious amounts of sky-high champagne. He was also recently quoted advising people they should “splurge sensibly” - whatever that means.
Chicago Futures Traders Get 140-Day Bans, $400,000 In Fines
5/2/2013 5:19:50 PM
Federal regulators have settled charges against two commodity traders who were accused of conducting illegal wash sales in corn futures. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced the charges against Kevin McLauren and Edward Gorman, who were charged with taking the actions in trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in March 2010. Regulators said the two engaged in prearranged trades in spot corn futures, in effect making wash trades that negated risk and avoided legitimate market transactions. Both men agreed to pay $200,000 penalties and will submit to 140-day trading bans, the CFTC said.
SEC: Victorville, California Cheated Muni Bond Investors
5/2/2013 5:15:08 PM
Victorville, Calif. and several individuals are charged with fraud for inflating valuations on a multi-million dollar bond issue. The Securities and Exchange Commission said the alleged actions included a Victorville official, the city's Airport Authority, and an underwriter of the bonds. They are accused of valuating the cost of new hangars at the city's airport at $65 million, when they knew the assessed value was really half that amount. More than $2.7 million involved was also misapropriated, SEC investigators said. The agency is seeking penalties and the return of ill-gotten gains.
Pennsylvania Bank Settles For Deceptive Customer Practices
5/2/2013 5:11:10 PM
Regulators are settling with a Pennsylvania bank accused of deceptive practices regarding its overdraft payment programs and stop-payment procedures. Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia will pay the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation a $5 million penalty and make $1.4 million in restitution. The FDIC said the deceptive practices occurred from January 2008 until November 2011, and affected more than 75,000 bank customers.
Victim Of Religious Con Man: 'He Took Advantage' Of My Faith
5/2/2013 6:31:01 AM
State prosecutors say Indiana resident Bradley Collins didn't hesitate to use his religious affiliations to pawn off bad investments to others - acts for which he now claims “great remorse,” the Journal Gazette newspaper said. But at a recent court hearing for Collins, 56, his victims had more to add. “He took advantage of my religion. He left me with nothing,” said one man, who lost almost everything to the scam run by Collins and another man, David McQueen. Between them, the two allegedly took $30 million from their victims, prosecutors said. Collins has now pleaded guilty to one of nine criminal counts and the others were dismissed. A Superior Court judge gave him two years in work release and ordered restitution of $2.3 million. McQueen, a former licensed insurance agent, is now also under indictment, the Journal Gazette said.
Sham Partnerships, Coin Scam Send Man To Jail For 17 Years
5/2/2013 6:26:06 AM
A 63-year-old Massachusetts man is going to federal prison for 17 years after pleading guilty to pulling a multi-million dollar investment fraud scheme. According to the Boston Herald, Arnett L. Waters, of Milton, Mass., was also ordered to pay restitution and forfeiture of more than $9 million. The newspaper said that from 2007 through 2012, Waters sold sham investment partnerships to his victims, spending most of his profits on personal and business expenses. He was also charged with defrauding customers who invested in coins, even after being ordered by federal regulators to stop, the Herald said.
Wells Fargo Banker Indicted; Charged With Stealing $750,000
5/2/2013 6:20:49 AM
A former Wells Fargo banker has pleaded not guilty to stealing money from four bank customers and stashing the cash in accounts he controlled. The U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of California said Ricardo Adolfo Benavente III, of the Wells Fargo branch in Chula Vista, was indicted on counts including bank fraud, embezzlement, identity theft, money laundering, and filing a false tax return. He is charged with stealing $750,000 in 2009, prosecutors said. Benavente faces a possible maximum sentence of 85 years in prison and more than $2 million in fines, prosecutors said. A court hearing is scheduled for early June.
Colorado Defendant Reneges On Settlement In Fraud Case
5/2/2013 6:12:50 AM
First he said “yes,” but now he is saying “no.” The Denver Post reported that William Sullivan II, of Highland Ranch, Colo., has reneged on a previous agreement to settle civil charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission and pay a $130,00 penalty and $94,000 in disgorgement. Sullivan had admitted to being part of a $15.7 million fraud scheme pulled by another man, Michael Turnock, The Post reported. But now, acting as his own attorney, Sullivan has filed federal court documents indicating a change of heart. He also wants all the money in his bank accounts unfrozen and returned, the newspaper added.
Mortgage Broker Pleads Guilty In $100 Mil Loan Fraud Scheme
5/2/2013 6:07:29 AM
A former California mortgage broker who ran a nationwide loan origination fraud scheme has pleaded guilty to federal counts including wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy. Federal prosecutors in San Diego said Mary Armstrong admitted to arranging the sale of $100 million worth of real estate at inflated prices, and to spinning off the overpayments to bank accounts she controlled. Bottom line: Armstrong collected more than $14.5 million in kickbacks from fraudulent mortgage loans, officials said. Three other defendants have also pleaded guilty in the case and two more are scheduled to stand trial, prosecutors said.
Two Charged In New York With Forging $3 Mil NBPA Contract
5/1/2013 7:07:51 AM
Federal officials in New York have charged two financial advisers with trying to defraud a sports organization by forging the signature of a deceased man on a contract. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan announced charges against Joseph Lombardo, 72, and Carolyn Kaufman, also 72, both of Ohio. They were principals of Prim Capital Corp., which served as investment adviser for the National Basketball Players Association. Prosecutors have charged Lombardo and Kaufman with producing a phony contract between their company and the NBPA, claiming Prim held an irrevocable, $3 million, five-year money management contract with the group. As part of the contract, the two defendants forged the signature of a former association official who was already dead when the contract was signed in 2011, prosecutors said. They are also charged with lying about the contract to a federal grand jury. Lombardo faces a maximum possible penalty of 60 years in prison and Kaufman faces 20 years.
Arkansas Securities Officials Charge Fla. Couple In Fraud
5/1/2013 7:01:04 AM
Two former Arkansas residents now living in St. Petersburg, Fla. have been accused of illegally selling securities in their former home state. The Times Record reported from Little Rock that Dennis F. Robnison and his wife, Jan Richey Robinson, are accused of committing securities fraud when they sold interests in two companies they claimed had computer programs that would be placed in retail chain kiosks. The Arkansas Securities Department is charging the Robinsons with using money from investors to underwrite a lavish lifestyle that included restaurant meals, entertainment, and vacations, the Times Record said.
Pastor Waives Arraignment In Atlanta Securities Fraud Case
5/1/2013 6:56:20 AM
The pastor of an Atlanta, Ga. megachurch has waived indictment on charges that he and his brother scammed dozens of congregants through investments in a company called Genesis, LLC. Rev. Wiley Jackson and his brother, Rodney Jackson, are charged with defrauding members of the preacher's Gospel Tabernacle Church, CBS Atlanta News reported. A trial date for the brothers Jackson remains unannounced, the news station said.
Higher Court Upholds Sentence On Nebraska Fraud Conviction
5/1/2013 6:51:40 AM
A federal appeals court has upheld a prison sentence for a Nebraska man whose securities fraud activities cost investors millions of dollars. The Associated Press said the ruling was rendered by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Bryan Behrens, of Omaha. He had maintained he had no knowledge of the federal rules or regulations he was convicted of violating. The appeals court ruled his argument invalid, and upheld Beherns' five-year prison sentence and a $6.8 million restitution order, the AP said.
Feds Sue Novartis For Claims Made From Kickback Programs
5/1/2013 6:47:35 AM
A massive kickback sheme that was conducted for years by a major drug manufacturing firm has resulted in a civil false claims lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice. The department said the action was filed against Novartis, a U.S. subsidiary of Novartis AG, headquartered in Switzerland. The activity ran from January 2001 until November 2011, officials said, with Novartis paying doctors to push its products at lavish parties billed as “speaker programs.” The programs were really social events for a few physicians, the government said, and some presentations were held at Hooters restaurants and during offshore fishing trips in Florida. Doctors who began using the drugs then billed Medicare, Medicaid and other federal programs, illegally costing the taxpayers millions of dollars. The federal complaint seeks damages and penalties from Novartis on false claims made for the company's products.
Auction Paints A Picture Of How Carolina Ponzi King Lived
4/29/2013 5:13:17 PM
What kinds of things does a Ponzi artist buy with his money? In the case of South Carolina scam artist Ron Wilson, an auction held last weekend drew a good picture. The Indepedent Mail said merchandise at the Saturday auction included a pickup truck, farm equipment, a wooden likeness of John Wayne, a cannon, and commercial refrigeration equipment. Wilson pleaded guilty last November to stealing $57.4 million from investors who thought they were buying precious metals through his company. He is now in prison until late 2029, the newspaper said. Still for sale by a trustee in the case: a 50-acre farm and a $750,000 mansion, the Independent Mail added.
Regulators Pursuing Two Men In Suspected Nova Scotia Scam
4/29/2013 5:08:51 PM
Regulators are going after two men suspected of defrauding Nova Scotian investors in a $700,000 Ponzi scheme. The Chronicle Herald reported that Douglas A. Rudolph and Peter A.D. Mill promised high returns for six years on investments in CanGlobe International Capital Inc. Rudolph used the money for unauthoized expenses, and his investors received no returns, officials said. A public hearing will be scheduled in the case, The Chronicle Herald added.
$11 Million Pump & Dump Case Brings SEC Charges In Bahamas
4/29/2013 5:04:05 PM
An $11 million pump-and-dump scheme involving penny stocks has prompted U.S. regulators to file civil charges against a Bahamian brokerage firm. Stockwatch reported the charges filed against Gibraltar Global Securities by the Securities and Exchange Commission, saying the agency suspects Gibraltar of being a conduit for a group of Canadian brokers who ran a boiler room. The operators are suspecting of dumping millions of shares of stock through the alleged scam, Stockwatch said.
Zimbawee Scam Investigation Puts Perpetrator Underground
4/29/2013 4:59:58 PM
A Zimbaee businessman has dropped out of sight after allegedly bilking numerous investors with promises of 35 percent monthly returns. The Mail & Guardian newspaper said George Zingane is suspected of taking money from victims who included police officials, army officers, and religious leaders through his firm, Geozing Pawnbrokers. The alleged scheme collapsed when investors began a run on the assets of Geozing. Zingane, who had maintained a private fleet of luxury autos, has now been charged with violating Zimbawe's Banking Act, the newspaper said.
2,000 Fraudulent Returns End With 34-Count Ala. Indictment
4/29/2013 4:55:17 PM
Alabama resident Harvey James has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Montgomery with filing more than 2,000 bogus tax returns, many of which were issued in the names of prison inmates. According to the Department of Justice, James and others claimed $2.5 million in fraudulent returns beteeen 2010 and 2012, using identities stolen from inmate information on file with the Alabama Department of Corrections. James now faces a 34-count indictment charging him with mail fraud and aggravated identity theft, the Justice Department said.
Boston Trial Underway In FBI Kickback Sting Investigation
4/29/2013 7:32:22 AM
A federal trial is underway in Boston for one of 13 people charged in an alleged penny stock kickback scheme. The Sheboygan Press reported that James Prange faces six fraud counts stemming from an FBI sting that lasted two years. Prange and others allegedly agreed to pay a “fund manager” kickbacks to invest in penny stock companies. Prange was a middle man in the scheme, introducing other suspects to the manager - who unfortunately turned out to be an undercover FBI agent, the newspaper said. Prange's trial is scheduled to conclude this week.
SEC Files Fed Action To Stop Alleged JOBS Legislation Scam
4/29/2013 7:27:46 AM
Federal regulators have filed in court to stop a promoter they said has been using patriotism to cover up chicanery. The action was taken against Daniel F. Peterson and USA Real Estate Fund 1, who allegedly claim to be raising millions of investment dollars that will pay huge returns by using the JOBS Act, a 2012 piece of federal legislation. The SEC action was filed in a Spokane, Wash. federal court. It claims Peterson has already taken money from investors in six states, and is preparing to raise billions of dollars through a second offering of “preferred secutities” that will purportedly offer returns as high as 1,300 percent over 10 years. Peterson has claimed two major Wall Street firms are partnering with him on the deal, the SEC said.
Web Of Deceit Costs Investors $400 Million In Ponzi Losses
4/29/2013 7:23:01 AM
Nicholoas Cosmos painted a pretty picture for investors: Give me money in 60-day loan increments, and I will guarantee returns of 10 to 15 percent. It wasn't true, of course, and InvestmentNews reported that Cosmos ended up taking $400 million from 600 victims. The end came after a U.S. postal inspector posed as a potential investor and began untangling the web of lies. Cosmos, of Milwaukee, Wis., ended up pleading guilty. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison and ordered to make $179 million in resitution, InvestmentNews said.
Financial Companies Protest; FINRA Drops Disclosure Rule
4/29/2013 7:18:10 AM
A major financial industry regulatory group has dropped a proposal to make companies include a link to their disciplinary histories on their websites and social media pages. InvestmentNews said the decision came after the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority received 24 written complaints about the plan. At present, investment firms only have to provide written information on such actions to their current clients. A FINRA spokesperson said the protesting orgnizations - including Wells Fargo Advisors LLC and the Financial Services Institute Inc. - objected that the proposed rule was overly broad and unclear, InvestmentNews said.
Capital One Pays $3.5 Million For Covering Up Loan Losses
4/29/2013 7:13:24 AM
Capital One Finance Corp. will pay $3.5 million to settle charges that it covered up losses on subprime auto loans during the financial crisis. The Securities and Exchange Commission said the company and two executives understated millions of dollars in loan losses in Capital One's financial reporting for the second and third quarters of 2007. The executives, Peter A. Schnall and David A. LaGassa, have also agreed to settle the charges against them, the SEC said.
Prison Time, $5 Mil In Fines Doled Out For Fraud Scheme
4/25/2013 5:10:14 PM
A Wisconsin commodities pool operator is going to prison and has been ordered to pay more than $5 million in penalties and restitution. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission said a federal court issued the monetary penalties against Eric N. Schmickle, of Cedarburg, Wis., and his company, Q Wealth Management. Schmickle was charged with soliciting about $5.2 million from clients; of the total, he lost $2.9 million, and misappropriated $647,000, the CFTC said. He had already pleaded guilty to a criminal wire fraud charge and was sentenced to 36 months in federal prison.
Co. Realtor: 'I'm Not Guilty' Of Property Investment Scam
4/25/2013 5:04:45 PM
A Colorado real estate agent is maintaining his innocence against charges that he lied to investors in the purchase of a 21-acre tract of land. The Broomfield, (Co.) Enterprise said Mark Marone, 54, allegedly told his investors he needed $3.3 million to purchase the property, when it actually cost $1.8 million. The alleged scam was pulled through Marone's company, PMK Development. Marone is charged with multiple securities fraud counts, and has now pleaded not guilty, The Enterprise said.
Alleged Alaska Scam Brings Charges Against Man, Woman
4/25/2013 5:01:26 PM
An Achorage, Alaska man and his accomplice have been indicted for allegedly taking tens of thousands of dollars from would-be investors and then keeping the money for themselves. Floyd Lee Jr., 32, president of Platinum Investments, and Mary Transki, 26, gathered $62,000 with promises of high returns, the Anchorage Daily News reported. The alleged scheme began in August of 2011 and ended when Platinum closed its doors in May 2012. A federal court appearance for the defendants is in the works, the newspaper said.
Son Of Former U.S. V.P. Will Pay $50,000 In Petters Ponzi Case
4/25/2013 4:57:37 PM
Impact from the Tom Petters Ponzi case still continues, this time reaching into the political world. A report from the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal said the son of former Vice President Walter Mondale will be paying $50,000 to a receiver in the Petters case, which saw investors lose $3.65 billion. Ted Mondale, a former state senator who now runs the Minnesota Sports Facilties Authority, once worked for Petters and borrowed $150,000 from him in 2005. The loan was never repaid, and the receiver went after Mondale on behalf of Petters' victims. The receiver said that $50,000 “is the most Mr. Mondale can pay,” the Business Journal reported. Petters is currently serving a 50-year prison term.
Chinese Investors In Scheme To Receive $157 Mil Restitution
4/25/2013 4:52:32 PM
Chinese investors who bought into a Chicago hotel scheme with hopes of gaining U.S. citizenship will be getting their money back, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced. The agency had filed a court action against Anshoo R. Sethi and two companies he runs, alleging that Sethi had told Chinese investors in a Chicago hotel and conference center they could gain citizenship through a federal immigrant pilot program. A federal judge has now ordered the return of $147 million to investors who fell for the scheme, regulators said. The case also continues, with the SEC seeking more fines and permanent injunctions.
Beverly Hills Stock Broker Is Indicted For Pump And Dump
4/25/2013 7:47:12 AM
A former Beverly Hills stockbroker has pleaded not guilty to charges that he and others orchestrated a pump-and-dump scheme involving small-cap stocks. The U.S. Attorney's Office said Andrew Baum, 44, is the target of a federal indictment that was issued in Santa Ana, Calif., and alleges that he and others falsely promoted and manipulated the share prices of stocks. In one instance, the indictment charges, they pumped up and then sold 600 million shares of Rudy Nutrition, a sports drink company, illegally making $5 million. A second man has been charged along with Baum, and a third has already pleaded guilty, prosecutors said.
Trading Bans, Fines Issued For Canadian Insider Charges
4/25/2013 7:43:39 AM
A former managing director of CIBC World Markets in Canada will pay stiff penalties and be barred from the securities industry because of insider trading allegations. Stockwatch said Richard Bruce Moore, 49, will pay fines of $504,628 in Canada and $341,191 in the U.S. for two inside trading events involving corporate takeovers. Moore also agreed to a 15-year ban from the securities business issued by the Ontario Securities Commission. In the U.S., he has been barred for life by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Stockwatch reported.
Former Florida Model Admits To Running A 'Bid Bond' Ponzi
4/25/2013 7:39:26 AM
Tina Louise Mangiardi, a one-time Florida model, is expected to plead guilty to running a construction financing operation that turned out to be a Ponzi scheme. Ponzi Tracker reported that Mangiardi solicited millions of dollars from about 40 people who believed they were investing in “bid bonds” for construction projects. Mangiardi has now agreed with prosecutors in Orlando to enter guilty pleas to one count each of mail fraud and wire fraud, Ponzi Tracker said.
Michigan Woman Convicted In $5.8 Million Medicare Swindle
4/25/2013 7:35:44 AM
A federal jury in Michigan has convicted the office manager of a home health care company for her role in a multi-million dollar swindle. The Department of Justice said Nabila Mahbub, 27, worked at All American Home Care Inc. in Oak Park, Mich. when she became involved in a scam to fraudulently bill Medicare for unnecessary or imaginary physical therapy treatments purportedly given to patients. Nineteen other people have been convicted in the theft ring, which stole $5.8 million from taxpayers in 2008-2009, prosecutors said. Mahbub could receive a maximum of 10 years in jail.
Globe-Trotting Identity Thief Being Held In So. California
4/25/2013 7:31:39 AM
Authorities in Southern California are sorting through the odd case of Lloyd Irvin Taylor, a 69-year-old Pacific Beach man who has been charged with making false statements on passport applications. According to the San Diego U.S. Attorney's Office, Taylor has traveled extensively - to places including Costa Rica, Budapest, and Switzerland - using various passports issued in the names of children who died in the 1950s. Federal authorities have also seized numerous bank accounts and $1.8 million in gold from Taylor, a former CPA, lawyer, and political activist. No real explanation yet on what he was allegedly up to, but a court hearing is scheduled for May 20.
Rogue Miss. Futures Trader Lost $141 Mil; Prison Awaits
4/24/2013 7:20:52 AM
A rouge trader who cost his employer and customers millions in a single night is going to prison for five years. Evan Brent Dooley, 45, was sentenced in Memphis, Tenn. federal court as a result of an overnight trading binge that occurred on his home computer in Olive Branch, Miss. on Feb. 26, 2008. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Dooley traded 31,964 wheat futures contracts in a single bleary night. By the next morning, he had lost more than $141 million that had to be made up by his employer, MF Global, Inc. Aside from issuing the prison term, a federal judge also ordered Dooley to make full restitution. No word on how Dooley can come up with the money.
Ex-Office Depot Chief To Pay $30,000 To Settle SEC Charges
4/24/2013 7:15:54 AM
A former president and CEO of Office Depot has agreed to pay $30,000 to settle charges that he illegally profited from insider trading. The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the settlement with Mark D. Begelman, a South Florida resident. He was charged with trading on non-public information he received about Bluegreen Corporation, which was being acquired by BFC Financial Corp. Regulators said Begelman got tips on the deal through his membership in the World Presidents' Organization, a global group of business leaders. To settle the charges, Begelman is paying twice the amount he made through insider trading. He has also worked as a high executive in the banking and food industries, the SEC said.
Insider Charges Are Dismissed In Canadian Energy Firm Case
4/24/2013 7:09:37 AM
Four defendants are apparently now off the hook with Canadian authorities in an insider trading case. Without elaboration, the Alberta Securities Commission issued a brief announcement that it is dismissing charges of illegal insider trading against Donald A.W. Keith, Mary Lee Keith, Michael Brian McCue, and Arthur Allan McCue. The case involved trading of shares in Berens Energy Ltd., of Calgary. In January 2010, Berens was acquired by PetroBakken Energy Ltd. in a deal valued at $336 million.
Alleged Tankless Water Heater Scam Draws Ire From The SEC
4/24/2013 7:05:14 AM
Two Arizona men have been charged with stealing from investors in a tankless water heater scheme. The Securities and Exchange Commission said Jeffrey Stebbins, of Mesa, and Corbin Jones, of Gilbert, raised money to finance a business that manufactured tankless water heaters that work through heated pipes. The two men allegedly told investors all the money they raised would go into the venture. Instead, the SEC said, they spent $1.8 million on themselves, and also fraudulently obtained $6 million worth of stock from a company involved in the deal. The SEC is seeking disgorgement, interest, penalties, injunctions, and penny stock bans against the men.
Merrill Lynch To Pay $1 Mil For Bad Bond Pricing Options
4/24/2013 7:00:03 AM
Industry regulators have fined a major brokerage firm for not giving bond investors the best pricing deals possible. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority announced a $1 million fine against Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc., saying the company used bad pricing logic in selling its ML Bond Market investments. Merrill allegedly overlooked better pricing options in 12,259 transactions with customers involving non-convertible preferred securities, FINA said. In addition to the fine, Merrill will also pay more than $323,000 in restitution to customers. The company agreed to the FINRA findings without denying or admitting the charges.
Ralph Lauren To Pay $1.5 Mil For Argentina Bribery Charge
4/23/2013 7:55:49 AM
Ralph Lauren Corporation will pay civil and criminal penalties totaling more than $1.5 million to settle allegations that it bribed government officials in Argentina for four years to do business there. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the misdeeds were discovered through an internal company review, and Ralph Lauren notified federal officials and fully cooperated in the investigation. Because of that, the SEC has announced a non-prosecution agreement with the firm over the misconduct in Argentina, which occurred between 2005 and 2009, regulators said.
Police Catch Indicted Man In Texas; Extradite To Alabama
4/23/2013 7:45:05 AM
A 33-year-old man who fled Alabama after being criminally indicted has been arrested in Texas and returned to Birmingham to face charges. The Birmingham News said Chinagozi Nwankwo was arrested by local police in Ferris, Texas. He was indicted in August 2012 for allegedly selling unregistered securities, but then fled. He now faces four criminal counts and was released on $20,000 bond, the newspaper said.
Petro America Defendant Fires His Lawyer, Will Defend Self
4/23/2013 7:40:08 AM
They say that a man who defends himself in court has a fool for a client, but Isreal Owen Hawkins apparently didn't get the memo. As he and four other defedants went on trial in the Petro America case this week in Kansas City, Mo., the Associated Press said, Hawkins alone decided to ditch his court-appointed attorney and argue his own defense. The five are charged with multple criminal counts for selling more than $7 million of worthless stock in Petero America, founded by the 57-year-old Hawkins. Prosecutors said the defendants kept on selling the stock for two more years, even after regulators in Missouri slapped them with a cease and desist order. The trial continues this week, the AP reported..
The Feds Plan To Auction Off 150,000 Shares Of Fla. Bank
4/23/2013 7:35:23 AM
Want to own part of the Scott Rothstein Ponzi scheme legacy? The South Florida Business Journal said it will cost you at least $1 million. That's the minimum bid the feds have established for 150,000 shares of Broward Bank Financial holdings, parent company of Broward Bank of Commerce in South Florida. Rothstein, the convicted former lawyer who pulled a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme earlier this decade, once owned a big chunk of the bank. Now, his shares - about nine percent of the company - will be auctioned off by U.S. Marshals. Broward Bank was founded in 2009 and is profitable, with assets of $142.6 million, the Business Journal said.
Fraudulent Forex Trading Case Concludes With $1.8 Mil Fine
4/21/2013 5:45:59 PM
A federal court has ordered two North Carolina men and their company to pay more than $1.8 million for fraudulently soliciting and then misappropriating money from investors in a foreign exchange trading pool. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced the action, taken in the Western District of North Carolina against Timothy Bailey, Michael Hudspeth, and PMC Strategy, LLC. They were charged with falsely claiming profits from forex trading in 2008, before their trading activity even began. They also issued false account statements and refused to return money their investors tried to withdraw, the CFTC said. The men are now permanently banned from the commodities industry and will pay the $1.8 million, which includes restitution and penalties.
Calif. Tax Preparer Charged With Ripping Off 200 Tax Returns
4/21/2013 5:41:17 PM
A California tax preparer is facing a possible 47 years in prison for receiving more than $1 million in refunds after allegedly filing bogus tax returns in the names of low income people. Through her firm, CLozano Income Tax in Spring Valley, the U.S. Attorney's Office said, Cynthia Lozano repeatedly filed fraudulent returns under the identities of more than 200 victims, many of whom were unaware their Social Security numbers were being used. Lozano spent the cash to buy more than 20 properties around Phoenix, Ariz., prosecutors said.
Futures Merchant Is Paying $400,000 For Faulty Audits
4/21/2013 5:36:49 PM
A certified public account and his company operating in Illinois and Indiana have been charged with improperly auditing the Linn Group, a registered futures commission merchant located in Chicago. According to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, CPA Michael Tunney and his firm, Tunney & Associates, were unqualified to perform audits they did for the Linn Group from 2007-2011. Most of those audits were performed by a non-CPA who didn't even work for Tunney, the CFTC said. The agency is seeking disgorgement of money paid to Tunney, and the 30-year-old Linn Group will pay a $400,000 penalty, the CFTC said.
SEC Settles Simran Case For Lies Told To California System
4/21/2013 5:31:44 PM
A Chicago-based investment advisory firm and its chef executive have agreed to settle federal charges that they repeatedly lied to obtain business with the California Public Employees' Retirement System. The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the case against Umesh Tandon, who previously operated Simran Capital Management in Chicago. Among other things, Tandon and his employees flasely claimed to have $200 million under management to meet CalPERS qualifications, the SEC said. They falsely inflated Simran's assets under management on at least a dozen occasions, the SEC added. The case was settled with the defendants neither admitting nor denying the charges, accepting a ban from the securities business, and paying relatively small fines and disgorgement.
Carolina Securities Officials Join In Profitable Sunrise Chase
4/21/2013 5:26:46 PM
The heat has been notched up again on Profitable Sunrise, the online pyramid scam that has fleeced investors for millions and stashed the money in accounts in Eastern European countries. North Carolina has joined other states and the Securities and Exchange Commission in pursuit of the scheme and its operators: Roman and Radoslav Novak, Inter Reef LTD, and several relief defendants. The North Carolina Secretary of State Securities Division has issued a cease and desist order in the case, saying the parties are pulling a “reload scam” that consists of using Internet sites and electronic newsletters to reach original victims and promising to help get their money back if they send new investments. Earlier this month, the SEC filed an enforcement action against the same parties.
Former U. Of Ga. Coach Donnan Is Facing 85-Count Indictment
4/19/2013 8:25:31 AM
Former University of Georgia football coach Jim Donnan and another man have been charged with running a fraudulent scheme that took $81 million from investors. According to ESPN, an Atlanta federal grand jury issued an 85-count indictment against Donnan and Ohio resident Gregory L. Crabtree, accusing them of misleading people who invested in their company, GLC Limited, Inc., which dealt in closeout merchandise. Donnan was previously charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with similar allegations, ESPN said. Now the new indictment charges the men with criminal counts including conspiracy, mail fraud, and wire fraud.
Two Plead Guilty In California To Fed Insider Trading Charges
4/19/2013 8:20:34 AM
A former California investment banker and his friend have pleaded guilty to federal inside trading charges involving companies in the medical field. The Imperial Valley News said the pleas came in the Northern District of California from Jauyo Lee, 29, of New York, and Victor Chen, 29, of Sunnyvale, Calif. Lee, who worked at the investment banking firm Leerink Swann LLC, was charged with passing along privileged information on two of the company's client firms to Chen in 2009 and 2010, the newspaper said. Chen made market trades and profits based on the illegally obtained information. Both men are expected to be sentenced July 23.
A Little Here, A Little There, And It All Adds Up To Jail Time
4/19/2013 8:15:58 AM
Prosecutors say Scott Haire, of Coral Springs, Fla., touted his football-playing days at the University of Kentucky when bribing people on behalf of companies he ran, including Wound Management Technologies, Inc., and VHGI, Inc. Now, the Sun-Sentinel reported, Haire, 48, has pleaded guilty to federal securities fraud charges. Prosecutors said he bribed a pension fund manager to invest in Wound Management, and also bribed a stock broker to invest discretionary client money, the Sun-Sentinel said. He also admitted to conspiring with another man to manipulate the stock trading volume and per-share price of VGHI. Haire now faces fines and a maximum of five years in prison, the newspaper added.
Three Are Indicted For $4 Million Nebraska Investment Scheme
4/19/2013 8:11:45 AM
A federal grand jury has indicted three men in Omaha, Neb. for allegedly ripping off more than 100 investors in a $1 million scheme. According to the Freemont Tribune, the trio - Jonathan Arrington, 44, Michael Kratville, 52, and Michael Welke, 38 - promised investors returns of four to six percent monthly, and said only 10 percent of each victim's money would be invested at any one time. However, the indictment charges, the men blew more than $700,000 from investors on themselves for travel, fancy meals, and golf club memberships. Each now faces 14 counts of conspiracy and wire and mail fraud, the newspaper said.
Fla. Bankruptcy Judge Denies Ponzi Claim By Former Senator
4/19/2013 8:06:43 AM
A bankruptcy judge in Florida has thrown out a claim for reimbursement by a former member of the U.S. Senate. The Wall Street Journal said former Sen. Alfonse D'Amato had invested in a fund that put money into a Ponzi scheme run by now-imprisoned ex-lawyer Scott Rothstein. D'Amato had filed in the Rothstein bankruptcy case to be listed as a creditor to collect $1 million from Rothstein-related assets. That claim has now been denied by a bankruptcy judge in Fort Lauderdale, the Journal said. D'Amato served in the Senate from 1981 to 1999. Rothstein was convicted for running a major swindle and is now serving 50 years in prison.
Art Collection, Grand Piano Can't Go To Jail With Klaus Link
4/18/2013 7:23:49 AM
Saskatchewan financial planner Klaus Link operated his company, Tri-Link Consultants Ltd., for more than 25 years. Now he has been found guilty of running a $1.7 million Ponzi scheme, stealing from clients including pension funds and immigrants. The Regina Leader-Post said Link, 66, was convicted of fraud and theft for using client money to renovate his house, buy an artwork collection, and add a grand piano to his cultural toy box. The judge in the case called Link's scam “a house of cards that would inevtiably collapse,” the Leader-Post said.Sentencing is scheduled for May 1.
Idaho Jury Convicts Fiduciary For Swindling $5 Million In Cash
4/18/2013 7:18:39 AM
A well-known fiduciary has been convicted following an eight-day trial for swindling millions from retirement accounts, InvestmentNews reported. The publication said an Idaho federal jury returned guilty verdicts against Matthew D. Hutcheson, charged with misappropriating $5 million. Prosecutors said Hutcheson directed a retirement plan record keeper to make wire transfers for more than $2 million from one account, and to liquidate $3 million in assets from another. Hutcheson used part of the cash to renovate his home, make car payments, and buy motorcycles, InvestmentNews said.
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