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by Mike Caswell
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has permanently banned Ongkaruck Sripetch, the Washington State stock tout who went by the name "King Richards." The SEC said that Mr. Sripetch was one of those behind the pump-and-dump of VMS Rehab Systems Inc., an Ottawa company that supposedly made orthopedic seat cushions. The SEC claimed that he and three Canadians realized at least $6.6-million in illegal gains. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.)
The ban for Mr. Sripetch is contained in a judgment handed down on Sept. 11, 2023, in federal court in San Diego. The order permanently bars him from penny stocks and imposes injunctions barring future violations. Mr. Sripetch also must disgorge his gains and pay fines in amounts that the judge will determine. There was no trial, as Mr. Sripetch accepted the ban to settle the matter out of court.
For Mr. Sripetch, the ban represents just one of his legal problems. He previously pleaded guilty to related criminal charges and received 21 months in jail. In attempting to avoid a lengthy jail term, Mr. Sripetch told the judge that he was lured into the scheme by Ashmit Patel, a "shady lawyer" from Ontario who was at the heart of the scheme. Mr. Sripetch said that he had found his way to the "seedier side" of the stock market and performed advertising work for a company that Mr. Patel controlled.
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