James Roland Dial, of Houston, Texas, received a five-year prison sentence
earlier this week for conspiring with Evan “Nick” Jarvis,
of Magnolia, Texas; and Alex Ellerman, of Chicago, Illinois; in an investment
fraud scheme that caused more than 300 stock fraud victims to lose their savings.
According to Dial’s plea agreement, he and his co-conspirators set
out to enrich themselves by artificially inflating the stock price of
Grifco International Inc. between 2004 and 2007. At that time, Grifco
International was a publically traded company that manufactured oil field
drilling equipment. Dial served as the company’s CEO.
In his plea, Dial admitted he knew that Grifco International released a
press release on March 3, 2005 that contained
false information about Grifco’s revenues and net income. He also admitted to “willfully
and knowingly” profiting from the falsified information by selling
the stock at an inflated price,
according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. When the stock ultimately lost its value, more than 300 investors were
left with nothing.
In addition to the prison term, Senior U.S. District Judge David Hittner
ordered Dial to serve three years of supervised release and to pay an
undecided amount of restitution to his victims. Though both Jarvis and
Ellerman also pled guilty to their roles in the fraud, neither man has
been sentenced. Their hearings are scheduled for June 1.