A Glen Head man pleaded guilty Wednesday to a charge that he participated in a scheme to inflate the value of a company and defraud its investors of $131 million, said Robert L. Capers, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Christopher F. Castaldo, 45, who had been a registered broker, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud before U.S. Magistrate Ramon E. Reyes Jr., in Brooklyn, officials said. Castaldo’s attorney could not be reached for comment.
Federal authorities said Castaldo took part in a scam to manipulate the value of ForceField Energy Inc., a publicly traded company listed on the NASDAQ.
He faces up to 5 years in prison and may be subject to restitution, criminal forfeiture and a fine, authorities said.
Prosecutors said that the fraudulent operation was conducted between January 2009 and April 2015, and consisted of Castaldo and others defrauding investors in ForceField, which was billed as a worldwide distributor and provider of LED lighting products.
Prosecutors said that Castaldo and others artificially controlled the price and volume of traded shares of ForceField through several methods.
Those methods included “using nominees to purchase and sell ForceField stock without disclosing this information to investors and potential investors,” “orchestrating the trading of ForceField stock to create the appearance of genuine trading volume and interest in the stock,” and “concealing payments to stock promoters and broker dealers who promoted and sold ForceField stock to investors.”