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by Mike Caswell
A jury in New York has convicted two men for their part in a $147-million market manipulation scheme that preyed on elderly investors. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.) The men boosted four stocks, including Canadian Securities Exchange listing Intelligent Content Enterprises Inc., through a cold-calling operation that ran over a four-year period. The men used what the government called "strong-arm fraudulent promotional campaigns" to boost the companies, which later became essentially worthless.
The convictions come after a 17-day trial and two days of deliberations. Those convicted are Jeffrey Chartier, 56, of Los Angeles, and Lawrence Isen, 66, of San Diego. The charges against the pair were money laundering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, securities fraud conspiracy, securities fraud and money laundering. On top of that, the jury convicted Mr. Chartier of attempted obstruction, based on lies he told to FBI investigators after his arrest.
With the verdict, prosecutors have now obtained guilty pleas or convictions for 16 individuals in the case. Four of those have been sentenced, with the longest sentence so far going to Ronald Hardy, who ran one of the two boiler rooms that the scheme employed. He received 10 years in jail, a sentence he has since appealed, along with his conviction.
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