Three Long Islanders have been charged by federal authorities with pocketing $2.5 million through fraud and stock manipulation in connection with schemes to promote microcap stocks, including a Canadian mining company that moved to Nevada, changed its name and began selling condiments.
A criminal indictment in the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, unsealed Tuesday, said that the trio, Charles S. Moeller, 46, of Sea Cliff, Mark S. Dresner, 59, of Dix Hills, and Frank J. Zangara, 52, of Locust Valley, committed wire fraud and securities fraud involving the stock of Everock Inc., which was traded on the over-the-counter market. Moeller, Dresner and Zangara also face civil charges filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Everock was a Canadian mining company that changed its business model in 2008 to sell condiments, vegetable dips and spreads under the Nature's Peak brand, which a company news release described as "100 percent all-natural, vegetarian, kosher and gluten free."
Moeller, president of Everock, controlled "almost all" of the company's free-trading shares along with Zangara, according to the U.S. Justice Department indictment. Moeller also operated a website that promoted tiny "microcap" stocks, including Everock, the indictment said. Dresner owned a marketing company that transferred shares to promoters of Everock stock, the indictment said.
The stock promotion campaign included online videos and Facebook postings, according to the SEC.
The three were accused of participating in a "pump and dump" scheme, in which manipulators who own a stock disseminate unrealistically positive comments. They artificially drive up the price and volume before suddenly selling at a profit, which drives down the price for ordinary investors. The SEC said the Long Islanders pocketed $2.5 million in profits from the scheme.
SEC and Justice Department officials were not immediately able to provide information on the status of the three menor contact information for their legal counsel.The case against the three was part of an international microcap stock fraud case involving six others.
The FBI also participated in the investigation.