Ten individuals of world inventory manipulation ring charged in Manhattan

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Michael J. Driscoll, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today the unsealing of three indictments charging ten individuals with engaging in a long-running “pump-and-dump” stock manipulation scheme involving the stocks…

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Ten individuals of world inventory manipulation ring charged in Manhattan
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Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Contemporary York, and Michael J. Driscoll, the Assistant Director-in-Label of the Contemporary York Field Place of enterprise of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced on the present time the unsealing of three indictments charging ten contributors with enticing in a long-running “pump-and-dump” inventory manipulation plot moving the stocks of diverse companies traded on United States-essentially based inventory exchanges.  The plot spanned the globe and the ten defendants charged delight in been residents of Canada, the UK, Bulgaria, Spain, Monaco, Turkey and the Bahamas.  RONALD BAUER changed into arrested within the UK.  CURTIS WILLIAM LEHNER, COURTNEY VASSEUR, and JULIUS CSURGO delight in been arrested in Canada.  ANTHONY KORCULANIC changed into arrested in Spain.  PETAR MIHAYLOV changed into arrested in Bulgaria.  Lastly, DOMENIC CALABRIGO changed into arrested within the Bahamas.  The US intends to brand the extradition of BAUER, LEHNER, VASSEUR, CSURGO, KORCULANIC, MIHAYLOV, and CALABRIGO to the United States.  CRAIG AURINGER, a citizen of Canada and resident of the UK, HASAN SARIO, a citizen and resident of Turkey, and DANIEL FERRIS, a citizen of the UK and resident of Monaco, delight in been also charged and remain at handsome. 

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams stated:  “As alleged, for years, the defendants, collectively, revamped $100 million by orchestrating ‘pump-and-dump’ inventory manipulation schemes of publicly traded shares of U.S.-essentially based issuers.  These pernicious ‘pump-and-dump’ schemes made the defendants neatly off while inflicting exact afflict to traditional, retail merchants who delight in been left swallowing the losses.  These defendants outmoded a web of nominee entities and shell companies located one day of the sector attempting to conceal their very have orchestration of these schemes.  This day’s charges could presumably smooth send a transparent message to all of these that mediate they’ll plot hundreds of thousands running ‘pump-and-dump’ schemes — no matter the set apart within the sector you are located, and no matter what number of groundless accounts and offshore shell companies you attempt and veil on the succor of, our Place of enterprise will vigorously pursue and prosecute you.”

FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll stated:  “Inventory manipulation schemes such because the one charged here on the present time relieve to undermine confidence in our financial markets and invent a having fun with self-discipline designed to illegally relieve a grasping few fraudsters on the expense of many staunch merchants.  As alleged, the 10 charged defendants operated a world plot that reaped higher than $100 million in illicit proceeds.  Our motion on the present time could presumably smooth relieve as a reminder of our commitment to insure free and handsome markets for all merchants.”           

As alleged within the three Indictments unsealed in Manhattan federal court docket[1]:

The Defendants

United States v. Ronald Bauer et al., 22 Cr. 155

RONALD BAUER, CRAIG AURINGER, PETAR MIHYALOV, and DANIEL FERRIS participated in a conspiracy that, collectively, fascinating “pump-and-dump” inventory manipulation schemes of the securities of in any case 12 United States-essentially based issuers, ensuing collectively in in any case approximately $75 million in total proceeds. 

RONALD BAUER, a/enough/a “Patek,” a citizen of Canada and the UK who resided within the UK, orchestrated a quantity of “pump-and-dump” schemes.  BAUER controlled the a quantity of aspects of the schemes. 

CRAIG AURINGER, a citizen of Canada who resided within the UK, participated in a number of “pump-and-dump” schemes including by coordinating inventory promotion campaigns and by providing funding in furtherance of the inventory manipulation schemes.

PETAR MIHAYLOV, a/enough/a “Petar the Bulgarian,” a/enough/a “PDM,” a citizen and resident of Bulgaria, participated in a number of “pump-and-dump” schemes by coordinating inventory manipulation promotion campaigns and providing funding in furtherance of the inventory manipulation schemes.

DANIEL FERRIS, a citizen of the UK who resided in Monaco, participated in a number of “pump-and-dump” inventory manipulation schemes including by opening accounts that delight in been then outmoded to trade shares and switch funds in furtherance of the schemes and by taking diverse actions mandatory to prepare the publicly traded companies that delight in been outmoded because the vehicles for the inventory manipulation schemes. FERRIS also served because the Chief Govt Officer of in any case one in every of the agencies whose shares the community thereafter manipulated. 

United States v. Curtis Lehner et al., 21 Cr. 121

CURTIS LEHNER, COURTNEY VASSEUR, HASAN SARIO, and DOMENIC CALABRIGO participated in a conspiracy that, collectively, fascinating “pump-and-dump” inventory manipulation schemes of the securities of in any case 9 United States-essentially based issuers, ensuing collectively in in any case approximately $35 million in total proceeds. 

CURTIS LEHNER, a/enough/a “Santa,” a citizen and resident of Canada, and COURTNEY VASSEUR, a/enough/a “Dim Water Useful resource Administration,” a/enough/a “Dim Water,” a/enough/a “Cyrill Vetsch,” a/enough/a “Arctic Shark,” a/enough/a “Oscar Devries,” a citizen and resident of Canada, both orchestrated a quantity of “pump-and-dump” schemes.

HASAN SARIO, a/enough/a “Ali,” a/enough/a “H,” a citizen of Germany and Turkey who resided in Turkey, furthered the inventory manipulation schemes by, amongst assorted things, acting as a designated “procuring and selling specialist” who directed the community’s inventory procuring and selling across diverse nominee entity accounts that the community controlled.  SARIO also utilized a community of nominee entities and nominee entity financial institution accounts that he controlled in insist to both trade shares and switch funds in furtherance of the schemes.

DOMENIC CALABRIGO, a/enough/a “Raider,” a citizen of Canada who resided within the Bahamas, furthered the inventory manipulation schemes by, amongst assorted things, coordinating inventory promotion campaigns.

United States v. Julius Csurgo and Anthony Korculanic, 22 Cr. 190

JULIUS CSURGO and ANTHONY KORCULANIC participated in a conspiracy that collectively, fascinating “pump-and-dump” inventory manipulation schemes of the securities of in any case 19 United States-essentially based issuers, ensuing collectively in in any case approximately $35 million in total proceeds. 

JULIUS CSURGO, a/enough/a “Gyula Karoly Csurgo,” a citizen of Canada and Hungary who resided in Canada, orchestrated a quantity of “pump-and-dump” inventory manipulation schemes. In reference to the schemes, CSURGO owned and operated an entity referred to as Antevorta Capital Companions, Ltd. (“Antevorta”), which CSURGO outmoded as a vehicle for the “pump-and-dump” schemes.  CSURGO, straight away and by plan of Antevorta, furthered the schemes by buying and promoting a quantity of stocks in reference to the plot and funding clear unfounded inventory promotion campaigns that delight in been outmoded to pressure Up the half prices as CSURGO and his co-conspirators supplied off the shares that they controlled.

ANTHONY KORCULANIC, a/enough/a “Remy,” a/enough/a “Viper,” a citizen of Canada and Croatia who resided, at clear relevant times, in Spain, participated in a number of “pump-and-dump” schemes including by coordinating inventory promotion campaigns and by providing funding in furtherance of the inventory manipulation schemes.

Overview of the “Pump-and-Dump” Inventory Manipulation Schemes

As alleged, the defendants participated in “pump-and-dump” schemes that adopted a conventional pattern.  First, the defendants and their co-conspirators secretly amassed regulate of the extensive majority of the inventory of clear publicly traded companies that delight in been traded on the over-the-counter (“OTC”) market within the United States. 2d, the defendants and their co-conspirators then manipulated the value and procuring and selling volume for these stocks, inflicting the half trace and procuring and selling volume to become artificially inflated, thru coordinated procuring and selling and unfounded and deceptive promotional campaigns that they funded.  Third, and at closing, the defendants supplied out of their secretly amassed positions at these inflated values on the expense of the investing public.

In furtherance of the plot, the defendants outmoded a community of nominee entities to trade shares and funnel proceeds of these schemes succor to the defendants and their co-conspirators.  Preserving the shares thru the community of nominee entities allowed the defendants and their co-conspirators to cover the truth that, in point of truth, they controlled the extensive majority of the shares of the issuer.

The securities that the defendants and their co-conspirators sought to govern delight in been issued by small companies, delight in been thinly traded, and most frequently traded at now no longer Up to $2 per half.  These publicly traded shell companies continually had few, if any, exact sources or exact trade operations.  While on paper the defendants and their co-conspirators had no connection to these companies, in point of truth they exercised obedient regulate, including placing in administration on the agencies, financing the agencies’ operations, and funding payments for attorneys in insist to prepare public filings with OTC Markets Group, Inc. and the Securities and Alternate Price (the “SEC”).  In insist to map investor ardour, the defendants and their co-conspirators, once in some time, triggered non-public agencies to be merged or “vended” into the publicly traded shell companies. The non-public agencies delight in been in overall in industries likely to map the investing public’s ardour. 

In reference to the plot, the defendants and their co-conspirators continually engaged in manipulative procuring and selling sigh in insist to artificially plot higher the procuring and selling volume and half trace of the stocks.  This manipulative procuring and selling incorporated, once in some time, coordinated “match” trades one day of which the defendants and their co-conspirators triggered one nominee entity or assorted brokerage story self-discipline to their regulate to promote a clear quantity of shares while inflicting one other nominee entity or brokerage story self-discipline to their regulate to desire a an identical quantity of shares that identical day.  These match trades, which in overall occurred on days when there changed into low procuring and selling volume, had the enact of artificially rising the half trace and procuring and selling volume of the inventory. 

As half of the “pump-and-dump” schemes, the defendants and their co-conspirators financed and coordinated promotional campaigns thru which promotional materials touting the stocks delight in been distributed to the investing public.  These inventory promotional materials continually contained unfounded and deceptive claims about the issuer, apart from to omitting self-discipline materials records, with the purpose of inducing retail merchants to have interaction the shares of the issuer, which allowed the defendants and their co-conspirators to promote of their obedient positions for a income.  The defendants and their co-conspirators in overall expended a quantity of of thousands of bucks on these inventory promotion campaigns.  Furthermore, away from the defendants outmoded a “boiler room” to solicit merchants, including merchants essentially based within the United States, to have interaction shares of away from the agencies.  These “boiler rooms” fascinating a number of people working in a coordinated effort to contact capability merchants, in overall thru unsolicited “cool calls,” and providing merchants with unfounded, deceptive, fraudulent, and/or exaggerated records about the relevant issuer in insist to induce the functionality merchants to have interaction shares.

The defendants and their co-conspirators profited from the plot by promoting their shares into the market on the artificially excessive prices that they had created thru their manipulative actions.  By promoting their shares while the half trace changed into artificially inflated, the defendants and their co-conspirators delight in been ready to brand hundreds of thousands of bucks in illicit earnings.  As soon as the defendants and their co-conspirators had supplied off their shares and ceased the inventory promotion campaign and their manipulative procuring and selling ways, the half trace of the relevant companies most frequently dropped precipitously.  The defendants and their co-conspirators then laundered the proceeds of the schemes succor to themselves in a mode designed to cover the source of the funds and/or the identification of the recipients.  Such laundering changed into continually done thru the usage of fabricated invoices, contracts and agreements.

*          *          *

Each of the defendants is charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud, which carries a statutory most sentence of 5 years in penal advanced.  Each of the defendants is extra charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a statutory most sentence of 20 years in penal advanced.  Each of the defendants is extra charged with a number of counts of securities fraud pursuant to Title 15 of the United States Code, which elevate a statutory most sentence of 20 years in penal advanced per depend.  Each of the defendants is extra charged with wire fraud, which carries a statutory most sentence of 20 years in penal advanced.  Lastly, every of the defendants is charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a statutory most sentence of 20 years in penal advanced. 

The statutory most sentences are prescribed by Congress and are supplied here for informational applications simplest, as any sentencing of the defendants will be trail by a mediate. 

Mr. Williams praised the investigative work of the FBI. He extra thanked the Justice Department’s Place of enterprise of World Affairs of the Department’s Criminal Division, apart from to authorities within the UK (in specific the National Extradition Unit), Canada (in specific the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Alberta Securities Price, and the Toronto Police Provider Fugitive Squad), Spain (in specific the Spanish National Police), Bulgaria (in specific the National Police Provider), and the Bahamas (in specific the Royal Bahamas Police Force).  Lastly, Mr. Williams also thanked the Securities and Alternate Price, which initiated civil lawsuits in opposition to 9 of the ten defendants on the present time. 

This case is being dealt with by the Place of enterprise’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Job Force. Assistant United States Attorneys Noah Solowiejczyk, Jason Richman, and Vladislav Vainberg are to blame of the prosecution.

The allegations within the Indictments are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and unless proven guilty.


[1] Because the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the textual express of the Indictments, and the description of the Indictments space forth herein, constitute simplest allegations, and each truth described must be treated as an allegation.

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