Former Registered Broker Sentenced to 5 Years' Imprisonment for Conspiring with Long Island Boiler Room to Pump and Dump Stock on Unsuspecting Elderly Investors
Illegal Stock Promotion and Manipulation Scheme Cost Victims Millions of Dollars
Earlier today, in federal court in Central Islip, Lawrence Isen, a former registered broker who participated in a criminal conspiracy to promote and manipulate the price of shares in publicly traded companies, was sentenced by United States District Judge Joanna Seybert to 5 years’ imprisonment for conspiracy to commit securities fraud, securities fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy, and money laundering. The Court also ordered Isen to pay over $8 million in restitution and over $700,000 in forfeiture. Isen and co-defendant Jeffrey Chartier were convicted of the charges by a federal jury in March 2020 following a six-week trial. Chartier was sentenced in December 2022.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), New York Field Office, announced the sentence.
“Lawrence Isen and his co-conspirators used their skills to steal precious savings from elderly, hard-working people all over the country,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “Today’s sentence should serve as yet another reminder to fraudsters who prey on the vulnerable that this Office will hold them accountable for the damage they cause to the security and well-being of so many.”
Mr. Peace also thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, for its hard work and dedication in 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 2014 to 2016, Isen, Chartier and others working with a Melville, New York-based boiler room artificially inflated the price and trading volume of stock in struggling companies with poor prospects, and off-loaded it onto unsuspecting victims who were often elderly and vulnerable.
The evidence at trial showed that Isen colluded with crooked investors, both in the United States and overseas, to dump large volumes of shares in Hydrocarb Energy Corp., trading under the ticker symbol HECC, and Intelligent Content Enterprises, Inc., trading under the ticker symbol ICEIF, on the victims. Isen, who was barred from acting as a broker by FINRA in 1996 and convicted of wire fraud conspiracy and obstruction of justice 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. He did so by, among other things, connecting the investors with the boiler room; negotiating the terms of the arrangements between them; and managing the relationships between them. Isen assisted the boiler room in its illegal cold call campaigns that used lies and high-pressure sales tactics to lure victims, by, among other things, transferring money and stock required by the boiler room for the campaigns; working with the boiler room to fill the duped victims’ orders with Isen’s crooked investors’ stock; and creating fraudulent stock purchase agreements, consulting agreements and invoices to cover up the illegal conduct.
The government has calculated that the conspiracy’s market manipulation fraudulently inflated the stock price of HECC, ICIEF and three other companies by more than $147 million. All 16 defendants charged in this case have been convicted.
Assistant United States Attorneys Whitman G.S. Knapp and Kaitlin T. Farrell are in charge of the prosecution with assistance from Paralegal Specialist Peyton Jefferson. Assistant United States Attorney Tanisha Payne of the Office’s Asset Recovery Section is handling forfeiture matters in the case.
San Diego, California
Defendant Previously Sentenced:
Sunny Isles, Florida
Docket No. 17-CR-372 (JS)