Swiss Attorney Pleads Guilty to Participating in Global Pump-and-Dump Scheme
BOSTON – A Swiss lawyer pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston in connection with participating in an international pump-and-dump scheme.
Matthew Ledvina, 46, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young scheduled sentencing for April 25, 2019.
In or about June 2017, Ledvina assisted his co-conspirators by creating nominee entities that were used to hold shares in Environmental Packaging Technologies Inc. (EPTI), a publicly-traded company. The nominee entities allowed the true owners of the shares to mask their identities and to secretly sell large quantities of EPTI shares, even as they and others simultaneously orchestrated promotional campaigns and other manipulative efforts to artificially inflate the price and trading volume of those shares.
The government previously charged Roger Knox, the operator of Silverton, a Switzerland-based asset management firm, with helping to facilitate the EPTI pump-and-dump and other market manipulation schemes. During the pump-and-dump, Silverton sold approximately $1.5 million worth of EPTI stock before trading was halted by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Knox previously pleaded not guilty and is currently detained pending trial.
The charging statute provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
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. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen of Lelling’s Securities and Financial Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case.