The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today charged seven individuals with perpetrating a fraudulent pump-and-dump scheme in the stock of a sham company that purported to provide products and services to fight global warming. The scheme resulted in more than $7 million in illicit profits from the sales of stock in CO2 Tech Ltd. at artificially inflated prices. The company, based in London, touted impressive business relationships and anti-global warming technology innovations, but was found to have no significant assets or operations.
According to the SEC’s complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the scheme was enacted through Red Sea Management Ltd., a Costa Rican asset protection company that laundered millions of dollars in illicit trading proceeds out of the United States on behalf of its clients. Charged in the in the fraudulent pump-and-dump scheme were: Jonathan R. Curshen, a Florida resident who founded and led Red Sea, David C. Ricci and Ronny Morales Salazar of Costa Rica, who were Red Sea stock traders, Ariav “Eric” Weinbaum and Yitzchak Zigdon of Israel, who were Red Sea clients, Robert L. Weidenbaum, of Florida, who was a stock promoter and operator of CLX & Associates, and Michael S. Krome, a New York lawyer who allegedly wrote a fraudulent opinion letter. Without admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint, Ricci settled the SEC’s charges by agreeing to an injunction against future violations of these provisions and a penny stock bar.
In a related criminal action, charges brought by the Justice Department’s Criminal Division were unsealed today against Curshen, Krome, Salazar, Weidenbaum, Weinbaum, and Zigdon. The defendants were charged variously with conspiracy to commit securities, mail and wire fraud, violating securities regulation laws and obstruction of justice.