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by Mike Caswell
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has filed civil fraud charges against Toronto-area cannabis investor Andy DeFrancesco, citing him for an $8-million pump-and-dump on the U.S. markets. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.) The SEC claims that Mr. DeFrancesco was behind a scheme to mislead investors in a company that supposedly sold Apple products through a chain of retail stores. Mr. DeFrancesco and others misled investors about the company's prospects, in particular its relationship with Apple, while Mr. DeFrancesco unloaded shares he held through nominees, the SEC says.
The charges against Mr. DeFrancesco are contained in a civil complaint that the SEC filed on Friday, Jan. 6, in federal court in New York. The complaint identifies Mr. DeFrancesco, 52, as the former chairman of Cool Holdings Inc., a Miami company with a chain of stores that it called OneClick. Also a defendant is Mr. DeFrancesco's ex-wife, Catherine DeFrancesco, 51, who was the nominal president of several private entities that Mr. DeFrancesco controlled.
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