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SEC target Castaldo pleads guilty

2017-03-16 10:22 ET - Street Wire

Also Street Wire (U-*SEC) U S Securities and Exchange Commission
Also Street Wire (U-FNRG) Forcefield Energy Inc

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by Mike Caswell

Christopher Castaldo, a New York newsletter writer charged as part of the Forcefield Energy Inc. scheme, has pleaded guilty. He entered the plea in an appearance on March 10, 2017, before Judge Brian Cogan. The judge set his sentencing for June 16, 2017.

Prosecutors claimed that Mr. Castaldo aided Canadian Richard St. Julien in a lengthy manipulation of Forcefield. According to the government, Mr. Castaldo accepted $653,000 in undisclosed cash and share payments to tout Forcefield to subscribers of his publication, the Wall Street Buy Sell Hold. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.) In doing so, he aided a scheme that inflicted $131-million in losses on investors, according to the government.

The charge to which Mr. Castaldo pleaded guilty is one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. In pleading guilty, he has admitted that he participated in a fraud that pushed Forcefield to a $7.89 high on April 10, 2015. (The stock then attracted a halt from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. It was last at 0.01 cent.) It is not clear what arrangement Mr. Castaldo may have with prosecutors, as his plea agreement is not yet available. His plea does come just weeks before some of his co-defendants are to go on trial, however.

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