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Coram man gets 2 years in 'boiler room' fraud

A Coram man was sentenced Friday to 2 years in federal prison for his role in a $147 million fraud scheme operated out of a Melville-based "boiler room," officials said.

Emin L. Cohen, 35, who also uses the name Ian Grant, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert in federal court in Central Islip to pay $86,000 in forfeiture.

Seybert will also determine at a later date the amount of restitution Cohen owes victims of the fraud, officials said.

Cohen pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud in June 2018.

Cohen, a cold-caller and account executive at My Street Research and its predecessors in Melville, was one of 16 people arrested in July 2017 for their roles in the scheme, which ran from January 2014 to July 2017, and in which many of the victims were elderly or vulnerable to fraud, officials said.

The scheme, known as a “pump and dump” stock fraud, involved using high-pressure tactics to persuade the victims to buy the penny stocks that the operators controlled, and whose value they had fraudulently inflated, officials said.

Victims were lied to about “the advisability of purchasing the stock and its potential profitability,” officials said. The scheme’s operators pocketed the inflated value of the stocks before their value tumbled markedly while in possession of the victims. Nationally, there were more than 100 victims, officials said.

Because of the high-pressure tactics used on victims, the offices of such schemes are commonly known as boiler rooms.

One of victims, identified only as Jeffrey M. from Texas, who estimated he lost $99,000 in the scheme, recorded five phone calls with Cohen, prosecutors said. In one of the calls, prosecutors said, Cohen tried to persuade the victim to buy even more stock in a company in which he had already lost money. Cohen falsely claimed that the company stock will soar in price because it is about to merge with Disney, prosecutors said.

Cohen tells the victim: “You’re down and you’re about to get right back up.”   

“Cohen played a key role in the boiler room, luring the victims, many of the elderly and vulnerable, into the fraudulent scheme with lies and subjecting them to high-pressure tactics to seal the deal,” Eastern District U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said in a statement.

Cohen’s attorney could not be immediately reached for comment.

Five of Cohen’s co-defendants are awaiting trial, and 10 have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing, officials said.  

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