DISBARRED BELLEVUE ATTORNEY SENTENCED TO 13 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR ROLE IN “PUMP AND DUMP” STOCK SCHEME
Defendant Taken into Custody at Sentencing for Continued “Dishonest and Deceptive” Practices
TOLAN FURUSHO, 39, a former attorney practicing in Bellevue, Washington was sentenced today to 13 months in prison, three years of supervised release, a $3,000 fine and $39,615 in restitution for Conspiracy to Commit Securities Fraud and two counts of Failure to File Income Tax Returns. In his role as an attorney, FURUSHO signed “opinion letters” without conducting any “due diligence” or reviewing any of the supporting documentation. As part of the conspiracy, FURUSHO also allowed co-conspirator Beverlee Kamerling of Bellevue, Washington to use his law office, his law office’s name in Kamerling’s e-mail address, and even his attorney trust account to promote Kamerling’s scheme. U.S. District Judge Richard Jones told FURUSHO that by committing the offenses, he had “violated every aspect of trust,” and commented that without FURUSHO, “much of the criminality would not have taken place.”
In December 2007, eight people were indicted by a federal grand jury in Seattle, Washington for a variety of charges related to a “Pump and Dump” securities fraud scheme. All of these defendants have pled guilty. The conspirators acquired publicly traded “shell” companies, hid their association with the companies, falsified and concealed material information on disclosure documents made available to the investing public, and then used faxes and press releases to try to boost the stock price. The conspirators then sold the stock through nominees at a profit and laundered the money overseas. The companies named in the Indictment were all Washington corporations: America Asia Energy Corporation, Coattec Industries, Inc., Detex Security Systems, Inc, and Global Gaming Network, Inc. FURUSHO provided some of the opinion letters, including for America Asia Energy Corporation and Coattec Industries, Inc., that allowed the schemers to sell their shares of stock immediately, rather than having to wait two years pursuant to SEC regulations.
Assistant United States Attorney Jim Lord depicted FURUSHO as the “gatekeeper to the financial marketplace..... Without Mr. Furusho, Ms. Kamerling and her co-conspirators could not have continued their fraud.... Their ‘get-rich-quick’ scheme would have been frustrated.”
Defense attorneys tried to portray FURUSHO as “sloppy, negligent and reckless.” But Judge Jones found that FURUSHO had intentionally determined which opinion letters to sign. Judge Jones ordered FURUSHO into custody to begin serving his prison term because of concern that he had not been truthful during his pretrial release. FURUSHO failed to disclose to pretrial services that he was working for a Las Vegas company promoting living trusts. Judge Jones said Furusho’s overall conduct demonstrated that he had continued to engage in “dishonest and deceptive practices.”
FURUSHO pled guilty to an information in November 2007, in advance of the return of the grand jury indictment against his co-conspirators. Beverlee Kamerling pled guilty on April 23, 2009, and will be sentenced by Judge Jones on August 7, 2009.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI), the FBI, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jim Lord, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Robert Kondrat. Mr. Kondrat is an attorney with the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions, specially designated to handle securities fraud cases in federal court.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.