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Press Release

Former Broker-Dealer Pleads Guilty to Stock Manipulation

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York
Defendant Misled Investors into Purchasing Artificially Inflated Stock in Publicly Traded Companies

Earlier today, in federal court in Central Islip, Anthony Vassallo, a former broker-dealer who was a manager at Plainview-based Elite Stock Research (ESR) and who subsequently worked at Melville-based My Street Research and related companies (the “boiler room”), pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud in connection with the sale of the stock of two publicly traded companies, CES Synergies, Inc. (CESX), and First Choice Health Care Solutions, Inc. (FCHS).  When sentenced, Vassallo faces a maximum of five years’ imprisonment.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the guilty plea.  Mr. Donoghue expressed his appreciation to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission for its significant cooperation and assistance in the investigation.

As alleged in court papers, between May 2013 and June 2016, Vassallo and his co-defendants engaged in a scheme to defraud investors and potential investors in CESX  and FCHS by artificially controlling the price and volume of their traded shares by generating price movements and by material misrepresentations and omissions in communications with investors.  Vassallo and his co-defendants also fraudulently concealed their control of shares of CESX and FCHS that were held in brokerage accounts in the names of other individuals or entities.

Vassallo is among 16 defendants who were charged in July 2017 in connection with a $147 million illegal stock manipulation scheme, and he is the 11th defendant to plead guilty.  The defendants who have pleaded guilty are awaiting sentencing.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Business and Securities Fraud Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Alicyn L. Cooley, Patrick T. Hein and Whitman G.S. Knapp 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 Defendant:

Age:  55
Farmingdale, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 17-CR-372 (S-1)

The Defendants Who Previously Pleaded Guilty:

Age:  42
Port Jefferson, New York

MCARTHUR JEAN, also known as “John McArthur”
Age:  34
Dix Hills, New York

Age:  44
Mt. Sinai, New York

BRIAN HEEPKE, also known as “Brian Targis”
Age:  36
Farmingdale, New York

Age:  67
Coram, New York

EMIN L. COHEN, also known as “Ian Grant”
Age:  33
Coram, New York

Age:  36
Massapequa, New York

Age:  26
Central Islip, New York

Age:  44
East Meadow, New York

Age:  51
Cold Spring Harbor, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 17-CR-372


John Marzulli
Tyler Daniels
United States Attorney’s Office
(718) 254-6323

Updated December 14, 2018

Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud