A former Long Island stockbroker has admitted to her role in a $147 minion stock manipulation scheme.
Stephanie Lee, 48, a former broker who worked with Plainview-based Elite Stock Research and Melville-based My Street Research, pleaded guilty in Central Islip federal court to misleading investors into purchasing artificially inflated stock in publicly traded companies.
Lee is one of 16 who were charged in July 2017 in connection to the scheme and fourth to plead guilty. U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said that she specifically pleaded guilty to:
- Conspiracy to securities fraud and securities fraud conspiracy;
- Money laundering;
- Money laundering conspiracy;
- Wire fraud conspiracy, and;
- Obstruction of an official proceeding in connection with the sale of the stock of two publicly traded companies, CES Synergies, Inc, and National Waste Management Holdings, Inc.
Donoghue said that between August 2013 and July 2017, Lee and her co-conspirators engaged in a scheme to defraud investors, many of them elderly, through the use of high-pressure call centers located at Elite and My Street Research.
Lee admitted to artificially controlling the trading price and volume of publicly traded companies by using pressure tactics, material misrepresentations and omissions to induce victims from around the country to purchase stock.
Although the victims believed they were buying stock on the open market, Lee and her co-conspirators secretly coordinated the trading so that the victims purchased shares at inflated prices that were owned and controlled by Lee and others involved in the scheme.
Lee, who now lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, also admitted to giving false information to FBI agents who interviewed her following her arrest.
According to Donoghue, others previously convicted include:
- Ronald Hardy, 44, of Port Jefferson;
- McArthur Jean, 37, of Dix Hills;
- Erik Matz, 46, of Mount Sinai;
- Brian Heepke, 39, of Farmingdale;
- Dennis Verderosa, 79, of Coram;
- Emin Cohen, 36, of Coram;
- Paul Ewer, 39, of Massapequa;
- Ashley Antos, 28, of Central Islip;
- Segio Ramirez, 46, of East Meadow;
- Robert Gilbert, 53, of Cold Spring Harbor;
- Anthony Vassallo, 56, of Farmingdale;
- Michael Watts, 63, of Sugarland, Texas.
When she is sentenced, Lee faces up to 20 years in prison. No sentencing date has been announced.
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