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by Mike Caswell
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has won a $5.81-million order against Ongkaruck Sripetch, the Washington State stock tout known as "King Richards," for his part in multiple pump-and-dump schemes. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.) The schemes that Mr. Sripetch assisted included the manipulation of VMS Rehab Systems Inc., an Ottawa company that supposedly made orthopedic seat cushions. The SEC claims that Mr. Sripetch and three Canadians realized at least $6.6-million in illegal gains from that scheme.
The penalties for Mr. Sripetch are contained in an order entered on Wednesday, Feb. 7, in federal court in California. The $5.81-million includes disgorgement of $4.11-million in gains, plus $1.7-million in interest. Those sanctions are on top of a permanent penny stock ban that Mr. Sripetch previously accepted in a partial settlement.
For Mr. Sripetch, the SEC case is just one of his legal troubles. He previously pleaded guilty to related criminal charges and received 21 months in prison. Prosecutors had sought two years, while Mr. Sripetch claimed that his troubles arose after he associated with Ashmit Patel, a "shady lawyer" from Ontario who was at the heart of the scheme. He said that he performed advertising for a company that Mr. Patel controlled while Mr. Patel was to unload shares and share some of the proceeds.
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