Majority Shareholder of Sham Company Sentenced to Five Years’ Imprisonment for Defrauding Investors in Penny Stock Scheme
Defendant Caused Press Releases to be Issued Containing False Information to Induce Investments
Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, George Trevor Porrata was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for conspiring to commit securities fraud. The Court also ordered $1,046,385.50 in restitution to victims and $400,000 in forfeiture. According to court filings and facts presented during his guilty plea proceeding, Porrata led a scheme to induce people to invest in Halberd Corporation, a publicly traded corporation whose shares traded on the over-the-counter exchange under the ticker symbol HALB. The proceeding took place before United States Chief District Judge Dora L. Irizarry.
Bridget M. Rohde, Acting 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 sentence.
According to public filings, from March 2010 to September 2013, Porrata directed press releases to be issued with false information to induce people to invest in Halberd, a company that purportedly produced aerial drones but, in fact, existed primarily on paper. Among other things, Porrata caused press releases to be issued about Halberd opening a sales and marketing office, owning a mass production facility and submitting a bid for a government contract. Contrary to these representations, this information was false and it caused unsuspecting victims to invest in Halberd and also caused the company’s stock price to be artificially inflated. Porrata and his co-conspirators sold their own shares of the company at the inflated price and caused investor losses of more than $1 million.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Business and Securities Fraud Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Sylvia Shweder and Matthew Amatruda are in charge of the prosecution. Assistant United States Attorney Karin Orenstein is in charge of the forfeiture.
GEORGE TREVOR PORRATA
Residence: West New York, New Jersey
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 16-CR-93 (DLI)