Houston Businessman Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for Investment Fraud that Impacted 300+ Victims

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.


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