February 23, 2018 / 11:43 PM / 24 days ago

California man sentenced to over two years in prison for penny stock fraud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A California stock promoter was sentenced on Friday to two years and three months in prison for his role in what U.S. prosecutors say was a nearly $100 million penny stock pump-and-dump scheme.

Songkram Roy Sahachaisere, 48, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Eric Vitaliano in Brooklyn, federal prosecutors announced. A lawyer for Sahachaisere could not immediately be reached for comment.

Sahachaisere was convicted of securities and wire fraud by a jury in November 2015. Gary Kershner, an Arizona business owner, was convicted at the same trial, and has not yet been sentenced.

Seven other defendants had previously pleaded guilty, including Sandy Winick, a Canadian, who authorities said was the scheme’s mastermind.

Winick was sentenced to six and a half years in prison in August 2016.

The case followed one of the largest global penny stock probes ever by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, drawing in authorities from Canada, Britain, Thailand and China.

Prosecutors have said the various schemes Winick masterminded drew in investors from about 35 countries. They said Sahachaisere, Winick, Kershner and others sought to fraudulently inflate the price of penny stocks by about $100 million, and then dumped billions of shares.

Sahachaisere, who owned a public relations firm called Investsource Inc, was responsible for promoting the worthless stocks, while Kershner was responsible for drafting false press releases about non-existent businesses and deals, prosecutors said.

Reporting By Brendan Pierson, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

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