The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced on late Tuesday that it has charged seven people for running ‘widespread’ boiler room activity in the United States.
The alleged perpetrators are Alex Forester, Michael Hicks, Yarden Krampf, Christopher Lee, Sean O’Neal, Michael Raynor and Lee Sobel.
Per the complaint, the perpetrators operated several boiler-room operations and were engaged in a match-trading scheme for around four years, between October 2015 and November 2019.
Boiler room scams are among the oldest investment scamming tactics as perpetrators engage in cold calling potential victims and persuade them to buy junk stocks.
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The defendants obtained scripts and lead lists and used them to cold call and persuade prospective investors. The boiler rooms promoted microcap securities for which the received commissions were much higher. The shareholders of these microcap companies allegedly paid the boiler rooms to sell their stocks, and the alleged perpetrators convinced investors to purchase shares of the microcap companies at prices and volumes that matched amounts sold by shareholders.
The seven changed individuals have reportedly received $2.8 million as commissions for promoting and selling the microcap stocks.
Additionally, the market watchdog charged them for operating with securities without registering as a broker-dealer or being associated with a registered broker-dealer at the time.
Three of the defendants, Forester, Hicks, and Krampf, have already consented to the charges on a neither-admit-nor-deny basis. The settlement between the three and the regulator is pending court approval.
Meanwhile, the SEC is aggressively going after such investment scams and is settling with the perpetrators of a $10 million boiler room scam, imposing heavy fines on them.