July 16, 2018

Fifth sentenced in ‘pump-dump’ fraud

A Florida man convicted for his role in a stock "pump-and-dump" scheme that so far has sent a former Hartford city councilman and three others to federal prison will spend seven years behind bars, prosecutors say.

William Lieberman, 42, of Boca Raton, Fla., also was ordered at his sentencing Friday in New Haven federal court to undergo three years of supervised release; ordered to make $5.3 million in restitution to victims; and must pay $436,325 to the Internal Revenue Service, the Connecticut U.S. Attorney's Office said.

As previously reported, a "pump-and-dump'' scheme involves securities in small or obscure companies that are hawked to investors as the "next sure moneymaker.'' More often than not, however, the companies have little or no products, revenues or profits. Investors in these schemes typically pay top price for stocks or securities that have little value, while the stocks' brokers and promoters walk away with the proceeds.

In May, Denver lawyer Diane Dalmy, 63, was sentenced to three years in prison, plus three years of supervised release and was ordered to make $2 million in restitution.

Last September, Damian Delgado, also known as "Michael Neumann," of Orlando, Fla., was sentenced to seven years; and on May 7, Brian Ferraioli, of Sayville, N.Y., and Thomas Heaphy Jr., of East Moriches, N.Y., were handed six-year sentences for their involvement, investigators said.

In April 2017, former Hartford lawyer and city councilman Corey D. Brinson was sentenced to three years in prison. Brinson was convicted of allowing his lawyer's trust account to be used to fraudulently funnel about $3 million fleeced from investors.

Alleged ringleader Christian Meissenn, of Suffield, is the last of the convicted fraudsters awaiting sentencing.

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