A stock broker of Indian descent has been charged in an alleged $131 million stock manipulation scheme in New York, after probe by a task force set up for President Barack Obama's war on financial crimes, federal officials announced Wednesday.
Pranav Patel of Tamarac, Florida, has been accused along with eight others in the multi-state scam "through a dizzying round of unauthorized trades" to increase share price of a company with no business operations, Robert L. Capers, the federal prosecutor in Brooklyn said.
Case involved the NASDAQ-traded stocks of ForceField Energy Inc., which claimed to be a world-wide distributor LED lighting products.
The nine from four states across the US were charged with securities fraud, conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and making a false statement to law enforcement officials.
The charges followed actions by the President's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force that "was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes," Capers' office said.
Nine, who included Naveed Khan of Staten Island, New York, "designed an elaborate but fraudulent scheme built on lies, kickbacks and manipulated trading activity to defraud the securities markets, the investing public and their clients," Capers said.
"They took a company with essentially no business operations and little revenue and deceived the market and their clients into believing it was worth hundreds of millions of dollars through a dizzying round of unauthorized trades and deceptive promotions."