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by Mike Caswell
Itamar Cohen and Mike Taxon, a pair of Canadians charged in the United States for the manipulation of two OTC Bulletin Board listings, have each been sentenced to one year of probation. New Jersey prosecutors claimed that the men participated in a $17-million scheme to manipulate a purported mining company and a purported oil and gas company. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.) The men created glossy mailers and entered manipulative trades that boosted one stock to $3.79, according to the government.
The men were sentenced via video conference in a hearing on March 15, 2021, before U.S. District Court Judge Susan Wigenton. The terms of probation include a prohibition on any work related to stock promotion or trading. The judge excused the men from the standard drug testing provision, but did direct them to provide DNA samples.
The sentences did not include any jail terms for the men. The pair had pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, which carries a maximum of five years in jail. The reason for the probationary sentence is not entirely clear, as the sentencing materials (which would have contained the recommendations of prosecutors) are not publicly available. It is quite likely that the men received credit for co-operating with the government, as their plea agreements specified that they had provided some assistance.
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