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by Mike Caswell
Federal prosecutors in San Diego have unsealed criminal charges against Vancouver's David Stephens and others for a scheme to manipulate an OTC Markets listing by having an elderly, vulnerable investor support the stock. The stock hit an $18 high as that investor bought millions of dollars worth of shares, prosecutors claim. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.) Mr. Stephens and his co-accused, meanwhile, were selling through offshore nominees, the government says.
The charges against the group are contained in an indictment recently unsealed in federal court in California. Mr. Stephens, 66, is not yet in U.S. custody, but three of his co-accused made their initial appearance before a judge on Thursday, Dec. 8. They are Donald Danks, 65, of Newport Beach, Calif.; Jonathan Destler, 59, of Los Angeles, Calif.; and Robert Lazerus, 66, of Solana Beach, Calif. The three men pleaded not guilty and secured their release on bond (with bond for Mr. Danks and Mr. Destler set at $100,000 and that for Mr. Lazerus at $10,000).
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