The Globe and Mail reports in its Thursday edition that Courtney Vasseur, a B.C. Hells Angels member, and former CFL player David Sidoo, are among 16 people accused of orchestrating a pump-and-dump scam that lasted more than a decade and bilked investors out of an alleged $194-million (U.S.). The Globe's Niall McGee writes that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York are alleging that the defendants, almost half of whom are Canadians, manipulated the share prices of scores of U.S. penny stocks over 15 years. U.S. authorities alleged the defendants amassed controlling positions in worthless shell companies, and used stock promoters to pump up the shares to artificially high levels. Taking advantage of the huge spikes, the defendants pocketed millions at a time by cashing out at the top. The SEC said it was one "of the most complex microcap stock fraud schemes" it had ever seen. The SEC also brought civil charges against Mr. Sidoo, and another Canadian defendant, Ronald Jacob Bauer. The men allegedly carried out pump-and-dumps related to North American Oil and Gas, and American Helium Inc., and booked $16.6-million (U.S.) in illegal profits.
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