Cement Con Man Gets 12 Years In Federal Prison
Las Vegas, Nev. – Larry Stockett, a former Las Vegas resident who conned people into investing their life savings in a worthless cement company, was sentenced to12 years in prison today by U.S. District Judge Robert C. Jones, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada. Stockett, age 60, was also ordered to pay $700,000 in restitution to a Canadian couple who fell victim to his fraud, and to serve three years of supervised release.
Stockett was convicted by a jury last December of one count of Securities Fraud, one count of Interstate Transportation in Execution of a Scheme to Defraud, and two counts of Fraud by Wire. The Court found that Stockett's sentence should be increased because it was sophisticated and involved more than 50 victims, because Stockett had previously been banned from the sale of securities, and because he obstructed justice by making false statements to SEC investigators.
From about October 1999 to March 2004, Larry Stockett defrauded individuals by inducing them to invest in a company called "Hightec" and its wholly-owned subsidiary "U.S. Cement," both controlled solely by Stockett. Stockett disseminated false and misleading information about the company through an internet site, press releases, emails and "infomercials," stating that U.S. Cement had an established cement distribution network, access to millions of dollars in financing, and prominent retail customers. Commonly referred to as a "pump and dump" scheme, the goal was to induce individuals to invest in the company to artificially inflate the value of the stock so Stockett could "dump" the stock for a profit.
From August 2000 to September 2001, Stockett also induced a Canadian couple to loan him approximately $700,000 to purchase cement and a warehouse for U.S. Cement. Instead of investing the money, Stockett purchased a $750,000 residence in Henderson, a Jaguar automobile, and other items of luxury, and paid monies toward the purchase of a boat in the Virgin Islands. Prior to the loan from the Canadian couple, Stockett was residing in an apartment near Paradise Road in Las Vegas.
In August 2003, the U.S. Attorney's Office charged Stockett with the criminal offenses. In February 2004, authorities located him in Costa Rica and arrested him. After one year of legal challenges, Stockett was extradited from Costa Rica and returned to Las Vegas to answer the federal criminal charges.
In March 2004, Stockett was also found civilly liable of violating federal securities laws for essentially the same pattern of conduct. The Court issued a permanent injunction against him and ordered him to disgorge illegal profits and prejudgment interest totaling $1,836,181.56, and to pay a civil penalty of $120,000.
The case was investigated by the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation, and prosecuted by First Assistant United States Attorney Steven W. Myhre and Assistant United States Attorney Paul S. Padda.