Again this is a late post. This happened on July 14th. This story received a lot of attention because one of the men charged criminally, AJ Discala, is famous. See the Dealbook article about the case.
A ten-count indictment was unsealed this morning in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, against seven defendants, Abraxas J. Discala, also known as “AJ Discala,” the Chief Executive Officer of OmniView Capital Advisors LLC (“OmniView”); Marc Wexler, the Managing Director of OmniView; Ira Shapiro, the Chief Executive Officer of CodeSmart Holdings, Inc. (“CodeSmart”), a publicly traded company; Matthew Bell, a registered broker and investment adviser representative; Craig Josephberg, a registered broker; Kyleen Cane, an attorney; and Victor Azrak, the Vice President and Director of Excel Corp., a publicly traded company. The charges include securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud in connection with the fraudulent market manipulation of four publicly traded companies—CodeSmart, trading under the ticker symbol ITEN; Cubed, Inc. (“Cubed”), trading under the ticker symbol CRPT; StarStream Entertainment Inc. (“StarStream”), trading under the ticker symbol SSET; and The Staffing Group, Ltd. (“Staffing Group”), trading under the ticker symbol TSGL. In addition, the government restrained Discala’s residence in Norwalk, Connecticut, worth over $1 million, and seized a dozen bank and brokerage accounts containing criminal proceeds.
As alleged in the indictment and other court filings, between October 2012 and July 2014, the defendants, together with others, agreed to defraud investors and potential investors in four public companies: CodeSmart, Cubed, StarStream and Staffing Group (collectively, the “Manipulated Public Companies”) by artificially controlling the price and volume of traded shares in the Manipulated Public Companies through, among other things: (a) false and misleading press releases; (b) false and misleading SEC filings; (c) fraudulent concealment of the defendants’ and their co-conspirators’ ownership interests; (d) engineering price movements and trading volume in the stocks; and (e) unauthorized purchases of stock in accounts of unwitting investors.
Here is the chart of one of the allegedly manipulated stocks, Codesmart:
See the criminal complaint: