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by Mike Caswell
A judge in New Jersey has sentenced Vancouver-linked fraudster Nathan Montgomery to one year plus a day in jail for his part in the pump-and-dumps of four OTC Bulletin Board listings. Mr. Montgomery previously pleaded guilty to charges stemming from what prosecutors described as a $20-million scheme. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.) He dumped millions of shares while carefully co-ordinated promotional campaigns boosted the companies.
The sentence marks the end of a case that had more than one link to Vancouver. One of the four companies that Mr. Montgomery admitted to manipulating was Mesa Energy Holdings Ltd., a purported oil and gas explorer. In 2010, he and others boosted the stock to $3.50 while it claimed to have a proved gas reserve of 1.16 billion cubic feet. (The stock is now defunct and no longer trades.)
The company previously appeared in a case that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed against former Vancouver broker Tom Coldicutt in 2012. The SEC claimed that Mesa was one of several companies that Mr. Coldicutt formed as part of an OTC-BB shell scheme. Operating through a network of nominee officers and directors, Mr. Coldicutt created Mesa and 14 other companies as shells, then sold them off to those looking for a public company that they could control. The SEC said that Mr. Coldicutt sold Mesa in June, 2009, about six months before Mr. Montgomery's scheme. (Mr. Coldicutt settled the SEC case out of court, without admitting any wrongdoing. He and his wife, who was also a defendant, received a joint $5.4-million fine. The couple recently filed for bankruptcy, listing the SEC as a substantial creditor.)
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