Skip to main content
Press Release

Former Securities Attorney Sentenced for $1.3M Penny-Stock Scheme

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs
Defendant Previously Convicted of Federal Fraud and Permanently Barred from Penny-Stock Transactions

A former securities attorney was sentenced today to six years in prison and ordered to pay $1.385 million in restitution to victims for his role in a conspiracy to defraud over 1,000 investors in a penny-stock scheme.

According to court documents, from at least November 2016 through October 2018, Phillip W. Offill, 64, of Dallas, and others conspired to misappropriate millions of shares of a publicly traded company, MCPI, using aliases and fake paperwork. The co-conspirators then fraudulently marketed MCPI shares to the public through call centers that made materially false statements to potential investors, including false claims that efforts were underway to list the stock on a national exchange. Employees at call centers also omitted material information, including the fact that the co-conspirators were paying large commissions to the callers to peddle the stock to victim investors. Offill and his co-conspirators also pumped up demand by manipulating the market so that MCPI stock appeared to be trading more actively than it actually was, and by causing the publication of false press releases regarding millions of dollars in funding that the co-conspirators knew would never come. As a result of the scheme, victim investors lost over $1.3 million.

“This serial offender defrauded over 1,000 investors, including many who entrusted him with their retirement funds and life savings,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Today’s sentence and restitution demonstrate the Justice Department’s commitment to protecting victims from financial predators, securing the integrity of our public markets, and obtaining restitution for victims of fraud.”

Offill was previously employed as an attorney for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for over 14 years. After leaving the SEC, in 2010, he was convicted in the Eastern District of Virginia for participating in multimillion-dollar pump-and-dump stock manipulation schemes. In April 2010, Offill was sentenced to eight years in prison and three years of supervised release. While on supervised release for his 2010 conviction, Offill committed the current offense involving MCPI stock.

“This case is unique because of the defendant’s greed and disregard for the rule of law, even after serving a federal prison sentence for fraud,” said U.S. Attorney Jessica D. Aber for the Eastern District of Virginia. “While still on supervised release from his last offense, Mr. Offill and his co-conspirators used their stock market expertise to swindle unsuspecting average investors in order to enrich themselves. I’m grateful to our attorneys and investigative agents who identified and put an end to this flagrantly exploitative scheme.”

As part of a civil case that the SEC brought in 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan entered a final judgment against Offill that permanently barred him from participating in penny stock offerings. As part of another SEC case, in 2012, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas entered another permanent bar against him. Notwithstanding these bans, Offill committed the current offense.

“The FBI and its partners work relentlessly to ensure that those who violate fair market practices face justice,” said Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division. “The manipulation of investors seen in this case will not be tolerated, and we will continue to collaborate to put conspiracies like this one to an end.”

The FBI Washington Field Office investigated the case.

Trial Attorneys Andrew Tyler and Amanda Fretto Lingwood of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Pedersen for the Eastern District of Virginia prosecuted the case. Former Trial Attorney Blake C. Goebel provided significant contributions to this prosecution.

Updated July 12, 2023

Financial Fraud
Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud
Press Release Number: 23-750