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by Mike Caswell
Ontario resident Dino Paolucci, operator of several touting websites, has pleaded guilty to criminal fraud charges in Pennsylvania stemming from multiple pump-and-dump schemes that he ran on the U.S. markets. Prosecutors claim that Mr. Paolucci arranged for e-mail and radio campaigns to boost eight companies on the OTC Markets and OTC Bulletin Board. The pump-and-dumps included one that generated $12-million in gains, the government says. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.)
Mr. Paolucci, 41, entered the guilty plea in a court appearance on Friday, Sept. 6. The charges to which he pleaded guilty are four counts of securities fraud, stemming from the pump-and-dumps of four of the companies. It is not clear if he will receive any special consideration on sentencing, as his plea agreement is not public. He remains free on a $3-million bond.
The charges against Mr. Paolucci, as set out in a (previously sealed) Dec. 13, 2018, indictment, stem from a scheme to manipulate four stocks: Livewire Ergogenics Inc., YaFarm Technologies Inc., Resource Ventures Inc. and Medical Cannabis Payment Solutions Inc. According to prosecutors, Mr. Paolucci boosted the stocks through prearranged news releases that went out alongside spam and messages on Twitter, and later radio advertisements. Typically, Mr. Paolucci only ran the schemes when he was able to secure control of all or nearly all of the tradable shares in a company.
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