SEC Obtains Judgment Against Market Manipulator

(HedgeCo.Net) The U.S. District Court in Boston entered a final judgment against Virginia resident Eric T. Landis, a recidivist market manipulator, and an entity he controlled, ordering them to pay over $2.5 million in disgorgement and deeming that amount satisfied by the same amount ordered as forfeiture in a parallel criminal action. The District Court had previously entered judgments against Landis and his entity, Ridgeview Capital Markets LLC, imposing multiple injunctions against them.

According to the SEC’s Complaint, filed in November 2018, Landis orchestrated a scheme to manipulate trading in at least 97 microcap stocks, which included placing thousands of manipulative trades over the course of three years using multiple accounts he controlled, including accounts in the name of Ridgeview. In August 2019, the court entered judgments by consent against Landis and Ridgeview that imposed multiple injunctions restricting their future conduct.

Landis was sentenced on January 24, 2020, in a parallel criminal action to six months in prison and two years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine. The court later ordered Landis to pay forfeiture of $2,505,488. Landis had pleaded guilty in January 2019 to one count of securities fraud and one count of aiding and abetting securities fraud.

Landis and Ridgeview have consented to a final judgment in the SEC action that permanently enjoins them from violating the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and the market manipulation provisions of Section 9(a) of the Exchange Act. The judgment also prohibits Landis and Ridgeview from promoting or participating in the issuance, purchase, offer, or sale of any security, including penny stocks, with the exception for Landis trading in his own name in securities listed on a national securities exchange, and finds them jointly-and-severally liable for disgorgement of $2,505,488, which the court deemed satisfied by the order of forfeiture against Landis in the related criminal proceeding.

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