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Press Release

California Man Arrested for $7 Million Securities Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
Defendant allegedly manipulated the price of a penny stock and facilitated a pump-and-dump

BOSTON – A California man has been arrested in connection with his alleged involvement in a sophisticated securities fraud scheme that generated over $7 million in illicit proceeds.

Joseph A. Padilla, 53, of Carlsbad, Calif., was charged with one count of securities fraud. Padilla was arrested at the San Diego International Airport on Aug. 25, 2022 and made an initial appearance in federal court in the Southern District of California on Aug. 26, 2022. He will appear in Boston at a later date.

According to the charging document, Padilla is a one-time stockbroker who was barred from the securities industry in 2012 by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. It is alleged that, between February and April 2021, Padilla participated in a sophisticated and lucrative pump-and-dump fraud scheme involving the shares of Charlestowne Premium Beverages Inc., a thinly-traded microcap company that traded under the stock ticker symbol FPWM. As part of the scheme, Padilla is alleged to have orchestrated the fraudulent inflation (or “pump”) of Charlestowne’s stock price using his brokerage account and the accounts of several other individuals. He then allegedly facilitated the sale (or “dump”) of millions of Charlestowne’s shares at pumped up prices to unsuspecting investors in Massachusetts and throughout the United States.

The charge of securities fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $5 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney James R. Drabick of Rollins’ Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the charging document are allegations.  The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated August 29, 2022

Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud