A federal judge in Los Angeles has entered final judgments against a San Fernando Valley man and two others for their roles in a $1.9 million pump-and-dump scheme in the stock of a Southland beverage and cannabis company, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced Friday.
According to the SEC’s complaint, in 2015, Ishmail C. Ross of Canoga Park secured — but hid — his control of Green Cures & Botanical Distribution behind a figurehead CEO and a front company created by Ross and Jessica Snyder of Avondale, Arizona.
At the same time, David N. Osegueda of Sun Valley sold Ross portions of convertible promissory notes, which documented debts owed by Green Cures that could be repaid with the company’s stock, the SEC said.
Osegueda and Ross converted the debt into shares and hired Zachary R. Logan of La Jolla to provide stock promotion services in return for Green Cures shares. Osegueda, Ross and Logan then deposited their shares into their brokerage accounts, according to the SEC.
In order to induce the brokerage firm to accept these shares, they made false and misleading statements, including that they were unaware of any promotional campaigns and that they were not working with anyone regarding the stock, the SEC said.
The SEC also stated that in 2016, the defendants pumped up Green Cures’s stock price and trading volume through a promotional campaign, including false and misleading press releases and thousands of emails, text messages and posts on investor bulletin boards. Osegueda, Ross and Logan then dumped their shares onto unsuspecting investors, generating about $1.9 million in illicit proceeds, the SEC says.
Without admitting or denying the allegations of the complaint, Ross and Snyder consented to final judgments entered by the court in downtown Los Angeles. U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez also entered a final judgment against Logan based upon his default.
The judgments permanently bans Ross, Logan and Snyder from violating the antifraud provisions of federal securities law. The judgments order Ross and Logan to pay disgorgement and prejudgment interest of $781,868 and $184,293, respectively. The court further ordered that Ross, Logan and Snyder pay civil penalties of $400,000, $164,000, and $100,000, respectively.
The judgments also prohibit all three defendants from participating in the offering of a penny stock, and impose 10-year and permanent officer and director bans against Ross and Snyder, respectively.
Without admitting or denying the allegations of the complaint, Osegueda previously consented to a final judgment that permanently prohibits him from violating federal securities laws, and orders him to pay disgorgement and prejudgment interest of $933,181 and a civil penalty of $835,941, and imposed a penny stock bar and a 10-year officer and director ban.