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by Mike Caswell
Ed Durante, a recidivist securities violator with links to Vancouver, has received 18 years in jail. Mr. Durante received the sentence in an appearance before New York Judge Andrew Carter on the morning of Tuesday, May 15. In addition to the jail term, the judge ordered Mr. Durante, 64, to forfeit $15.4-million. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.)
The 18-year sentence stems from a scheme in which Mr. Durante manipulated a pink sheets listing called VGTel Inc. He told investors that the stock could go to $50. Then, with the help of others, he convinced a group of mostly unsophisticated investors to buy millions of dollars worth of shares. Mr. Durante pleaded guilty to charges that included conspiracy, securities fraud and money laundering on Aug. 23, 2016.
The 18-year jail term is a setback for Mr. Durante, who had asked the judge for no more than 11 years. Ahead of sentencing, he said that at the age of 64, a jail term of any length would see him more likely to die in jail than to be released. He also said that he had co-operated with the government after his arrest, providing them with the names of those associated with other manipulations.
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