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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, January 27, 2020

Stock Promoter Sentenced to Prison for Engaging in Manipulative Trading as Part of Pump-and-Dump Schemes

BOSTON – A stock promoter who engaged in manipulative trading as part of a scheme to defraud investors was sentenced on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, to six months in prison.

Eric Landis, 54, of Charlottesville, Va., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani to six months in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay a fine of $50,000. In January 2019, Landis pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud. 

From January 2015 to January 2018, Landis engaged in a scheme to manipulate the stock of at least 97 publicly traded companies. Landis was paid by stock promoters to send e-mails out touting microcap stocks to “lists” that he purportedly controlled. Instead of doing this, Landis generated the appearance of interest in the stocks by placing thousands of manipulative trades himself in the stock of the companies he was paid to promote. Landis’s trading created the mirage that the securities of those microcap companies were in high demand, when they were not. Over the course of a three year period, Landis was paid approximately $3.3 million by the stock promoters as part of his criminal scheme. 

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division made the announcement today. The Boston regional office of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission provided assistance with the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric S. Rosen of Lelling’s Securities and Financial Fraud Unit prosecuted the case. 

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Updated January 27, 2020