Article: Five Charged in Offering Fraud, Stock Manipulation, Money Laundering

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Five Charged in Offering Fraud, Stock Manipulation, Money Laundering

Michael Katz, 23 April 2021

Five people have been charged in federal court for their alleged involvement in two securities fraud schemes. According to prosecutors, the schemes involved an offering fraud of a Texas-based oil and gas company and the attempted manipulation of a cannabis company’s publicly traded stock.

An indictment was filed in the Eastern District of New York against Richard Dale Sterritt Jr., Michael Greer, Robert Magness, Mark Ross, and Robyn Straza, charging them with conspiracy to commit securities fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering, among other offenses.

“Through a web of related schemes, Sterritt and his co-defendants allegedly stole millions of dollars from investors, attempted to manipulate a publicly traded stock and laundered the proceeds of their crimes through the purchase of luxury items like a Bentley,” Mark Lesko, acting US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement.

According to the indictment, over nearly three years, Sterritt, Greer, Magness, and Ross allegedly committed a series of schemes that included an offering fraud in oil and gas exploration production company Zona Energy securities and a plan to manipulate the price and trading volume of shares of OrgHarvest Inc., which produces, cultivates, and extracts organic cannabis products.

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