Employees at a Long Island-based boiler room have been sentenced to time behind bars for their roles in a $147 million stock manipulation scheme.
Ronald Hardy, 42, of Port Jefferson, a manager at Power Traders Press, My Street Research and other companies located in Melville, and Dennis Verderosa, 67, of Coram, a cold-caller and account executive at the boiler room, were sentenced to 10 and six years in prison, respectively, for their roles in the scheme.
Hardy was also ordered to forfeit the contents of a bank account and two properties he owned in Florida, and Verderosa was ordered to pay $341,883 in forfeiture. The amount of restitution to be paid by the two is to be determined by the court at a later date.
Hardy pleaded guilty in August last year to conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, substantive securities fraud and money laundering. Verderosa pleaded guilty in April 2018 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Two others involved in the scheme - Coram resident Emil Cohen, 33, and Dix Hills resident Jean McArthur, 34, have previously been sentenced to two years in prison for their involvement in the fraud.
U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said that between January 2014 and July 2017, Hardy, Verderosa and 14 co-defendants participated in a scheme that defrauded investors in publicly traded companies by artificially inflating the price and trading volume of stock of the companies.
They also made misrepresentations in their communications with investors concerning the advisability of purchasing the stock and its potential profitability. Those charged, some of whom controlled stock in the manipulated companies, profited while the victim investors lost millions of dollars when the stock prices plummeted.
Donoghue said that taped to the wall of the boiler room where the cold callers made these misrepresentations was a sign that read, “WE’LL POUND THE PHONE AND WITH A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK, WE’LL MAKE A TON OF MONEY AND WON’T GIVE A F---.”
Ten other co-conspirators have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Four others are scheduled for trial.
“Hardy and Verderosa have been punished for luring vulnerable victims, many of them in their 70s, 80s, and 90s, into a web of lies in order to steal their life savings,” Donoghue said in a statement. “This Office will continue working tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to protect investors from calculating con-men.”
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