West Vancouver penny stock promoter Frederick Sharp is one of four men charged in Boston over an alleged pump-and-dump scheme.
Former lawyer Sharp, 69; Luis Carrillo, 47, previously of California; Mike Veldhuis, 41, of British Columbia; and Courtney Kelln, 41, of British Columbia, were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and one count of securities fraud.
The group is accused by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts of using encrypted smartphones and code words to communicate about their $140 million scheme through a Swiss firm from 2014 to 2018.
None of the allegations has been tested in court.
Prosecutors pinpointed four stocks sold via pump and dumps: Vitality BioPharma, Inc. (ticker VBIO); OneLife Technologies Corp. (OLMM); Garmatex Holdings, Ltd. (GRMX); and PureSnax International, Inc. (PSNX).
Maximum penalties include 20 years in jail and $5 million in fines.
Sharp was the Canadian rep for notorious Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca, a specialist in offshore tax havens. He was one of more than 600 Canadians listed in the Panama Papers leak in 2016.
Sharp’s charges come almost 13 months after Vancouver stock promoter David Sidoo was sentenced to three months in jail for conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
Sidoo cut a plea bargain with prosecutors in Boston who were handling the college admissions scandal investigation.
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