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by Mike Caswell
Jonathan Destler, a Los Angeles man criminally charged alongside Vancouver's David Stephens and others for a scheme to manipulate a Nasdaq listing, has asked a judge to throw the case out. He says that the charges, which stem from a scheme to sell shares a Quebec company that claimed to have a deal with Coca-Cola, amount to a prosecutorial overreach. He claims that he had no control over the company, nor did he have any part in "pumping up the market."
The request from Mr. Destler comes as part of a case in which California prosecutors claim that he and others carried out a pump-and-dump of Loop Industries Inc., a supposed plastics company. The men unloaded the stock as it went to an $18 high, supported with purchases on the market by an elderly, vulnerable investor, prosecutors say. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.) The government claims that the men realized $3.2-million in gains from the scheme.
The case has yet to go to trial and, as Mr. Destler sees things, he should never have to answer for the charges. In a motion to dismiss filed on Sept. 14, 2023, he says that there is nothing connecting him to any pump-and-dump, or even any evidence that Loop Industries was a pump-and-dump. The government has not identified any misleading news releases or untrue promotional materials, he contends. Moreover, he says that Loop is not a company of little substance. It has contracts with some of the "largest consumer brands" in the world, as well as coverage from investment banks, he claims.
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