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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Ex-Stockbrokers Convicted of Conspiring with Long Island Boiler Rooms to Dump Stock on Unsuspecting Investors

Defendants Orchestrated Stock Manipulation Scheme That Cost Elderly Victims Millions

Following a six-week trial, a federal jury in Central Islip, New York returned a guilty verdict today on all counts against former registered stock brokers Jeffrey Chartier and Lawrence Isen for their roles in a conspiracy to manipulate and fraudulently promote shares of publicly traded companies Hydrocarb Energy Corp. (HECC), CES Synergies, Inc. (CESX), National Waste Management Holdings, Inc. (NWMH) and Intelligent Content Enterprises, Inc. (ICEIF).  Specifically, the defendants were convicted of money laundering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, securities fraud conspiracy, securities fraud and money laundering.  Chartier was additionally convicted of attempted obstruction of an official proceeding based upon lies he told to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after his arrest in this case.  

When sentenced by United States District Judge Joanna Seybert, the defendants each face a maximum sentence of more than 20 years’ imprisonment.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced the verdict.

“Chartier, Isen and their co-conspirators lied to investors, including elderly victims, but the jurors here saw the truth – that these defendants were brazenly stealing money through fraudulent investment schemes,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  Mr. Donoghue thanked the FBI for leading the investigation, and expressed his appreciation to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc., Criminal Prosecution Assistance Group (FINRA CPAG) for their cooperation and assistance.

From 2013 to 2017, Chartier, Isen and two boiler rooms located in Plainview and Melville, New York – known as, among other names, Elite Stock Research and Power Traders Press – artificially inflated the price and trading volume of the four stocks.  They did so through a cold-calling campaign that used lies and high-pressure sales tactics to lure victims, many of whom were elderly, into purchasing stock.  The conspiracy’s market manipulation fraudulently inflated the stock price of the four stocks by more than $147 million.   

Chartier, who became a major shareholder in CESX and NWMH after persuading those companies to retain him to help take them public, used the boiler rooms to dump nearly $2 million worth of those companies’ shares on unsuspecting victims.  He also sold stock to individuals in private transactions without telling them that the stock had been manipulated to trade at an artificially high price and volume.  Using some of the proceeds from his fraudulent scheme, he purchased a $350,000 luxury RV equipped with a flat screen television and a fireplace, which he used as a traveling office.

After Chartier was arrested in July 2017, and after waiving his Miranda rights, he lied to FBI Special Agents about his and others’ involvement in the scheme, including that he sold NWMH shares only via purchase agreements.

Isen, who was barred from acting as a broker by FINRA in 1996 and convicted of wire fraud conspiracy in the Southern District of New York in 2000, orchestrated the manipulation of stock belonging to, among others, major HECC shareholder Michael Watts and major ICEIF shareholders located in India.  Watts was previously convicted in October 2019 for his role in the stock manipulation scheme following a month-long jury trial and is awaiting sentencing.

Chartier and Isen are the 15th and 16th defendants convicted in this case.  Four defendants have been sentenced for their roles in the scheme:  Ronald Hardy was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment; Dennis Verderosa was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment; McArthur Jean was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment; and Emin Cohen was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Business and Securities Fraud Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Whitman G.S. Knapp and Kaitlin T. Farrell are in charge of the prosecution.  Assistant United States Attorney Tanisha R. Payne of the Office’s Asset Forfeiture Section is handling the forfeiture matters.

The Defendants:

JEFFREY CHARTIER
Age: 56
Los Angeles, California

LAWRENCE ISEN
Age: 66
San Diego, California

Defendants Who Were Previously Convicted:

RONALD HARDY
Age:  44
Port Jefferson, New York

MCARTHUR JEAN (also known as “John McArthur”)
Age:  37
Dix Hills, New York

STEPHANIE LEE
Age: 48
St. Petersburg, Florida

ERIK MATZ
Age:  46
Mt. Sinai, New York

BRIAN HEEPKE (also known as “Brian Targis”)
Age:  39
Farmingdale, New York

DENNIS VERDEROSA
Age:  79
Coram, New York

EMIN L. COHEN (also known as “Ian Grant”)
Age:  36
Coram, New York

PAUL EWER
Age:  39
Massapequa, New York

ASHLEY ANTOS
Age:  28
Central Islip, New York

SERGIO RAMIREZ
Age:  46
East Meadow, New York

ROBERT GILBERT
Age:  53
Cold Spring Harbor, New York

ANTHONY VASSALLO
Age:  56
Farmingdale, New York

MICHAEL WATTS
Age:  63
Sugarland, Texas

Docket No. 17-CR-372 (S-3) (JS)

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud
Elder Justice
Contact: 
John Marzulli United States Attorney’s Office (718) 254-6323
Updated March 18, 2020