(HedgeCo.Net) Ryan Gilbertson, a Minnesota man previously accused by the SEC of orchestrating an elaborate scheme to siphon millions of dollars from Dakota Plains Holdings, Inc., has been convicted on 21 counts of wire fraud, securities fraud, and conspiracy to commit securities fraud. Douglas Hoskins, who was also named in the SEC’s complaint, was convicted on 6 counts of wire fraud, securities fraud, and conspiracy to commit securities fraud.
The charges upon which Gilbertson and Hoskins were convicted arise from the same conduct alleged by the SEC. According to the SEC’s complaint, filed in federal court in Minnesota on October 31, 2016, Gilbertson and another company co-founder, installed their fathers as figurehead executives in order to secretly wield control of the company and issue millions of shares of stock to themselves, family, and friends. They allegedly later hired one of their friends as CEO. They allegedly caused the company to enter into an agreement to borrow money from them under generous terms that included extra bonus payments to Gilbertson, and other lenders based on the price of Dakota Plains stock after 20 days of trading following a reverse merger into a company with publicly-traded shares.
According to the SEC’s complaint, Gilbertson enlisted friends and associates including Douglas Hoskins to choreograph extensive sales and purchases of Dakota Plains stock and cause the price to skyrocket from 30 cents to more than $12 per share during that 20-day period. The allegedly inflated stock price obligated Dakota Plains to make bonus payments totaling $32,851,800 to Gilbertson and others. After meeting his target to receive the bonus payments, Gilbertson ceased his alleged manipulation efforts. The stock price then steadily declined to pennies per share and the company was eventually delisted.
Sentencing is scheduled for November 13, 2018 for Gilbertson and November 15, 2018 for Hoskins.