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March 8, 2011


(HOUSTON) – Three men who controlled Grifco International Inc. have been convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud arising from an investment fraud scheme, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Alex Ellerman, 36, of Chicago, Ill., pleaded guilty today to the federal felony offense before Senior U.S. District Judge David Hittner. Two Houston men, Evan “Nick” Jarvis, 37, and Jim Dial, 54, pleaded guilty to the same offense on Friday, March 4, 2011. Each defendant, in turn, has admitted they conspired together to enrich themselves by artificially inflating the stock price of a publicly-traded company they controlled called Grifco International Inc. from 2004 through 2007. Each defendant admitted knowing that Grifco issued a press release containing false information about Grifco’s revenue and net income and that they willfully and knowingly profited from the false press release by selling Grifco stock.  

As part of his agreement with the United States, Jarvis also agreed to a personal money judgment against him and in favor of the United States of America in the amount of $2 million which represents funds stolen from defrauded Grifco shareholders. 

Each of the three men now face a maximum of five years in federal prison without parole to be followed by a maximum three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000 and an order to pay full restitution to victims at their sentencing hearing. Judge Hittner has set Ellerman’s sentencing for June 8, 2011, while Jarvis and Dial are scheduled to be sentenced on June 6, 2011.  

Ellerman has been in federal custody without bond since his arrest on April 20, 2010, after flying to Houston from Panama and will remain in custody pending sentencing. Jarvis and Dial have been permitted to remain on bond pending their sentencing hearings.

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by agents of the FBI with the assistance of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which conducted a separate, parallel investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney John R. Lewis is prosecuting the case.


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