Former Broker Gerald Cocuzzo Pleads Guilty to Securities Fraud
Former Newbridge Securities Corp. broker Gerald J. Cocuzzo (CRD# 4047511) pleaded guilty to charges relating to his role in a $131 million market manipulation scheme.
The United States Department of Justice released a statement on Tuesday, November 8 informing the public that former Newbridge Securities Corp. broker Gerald Cocuzzo (CRD# 4047511) pleaded guilty before United States Magistrate Judge Ramon E. Reyes, Jr. for his involvement in the fraudulent market manipulation of ForceField Energy Inc. (FNRG) stocks. He faces a fine, criminal forfeiture, restitution, and up to 20 years in prison when sentenced, which has yet to be scheduled.
“[T]he defendant, together with others, engaged in a scheme to defraud investors in ForceField, a purported worldwide distributor and provider of LED lighting products and solutions, by artificially controlling the price and volume of traded shares of ForceField through, among other means.”
Cocuzzo, along with brokers Pranav V. Patel (CRD# 5391213), Maroof Miyana (CRD# 4513966), Naveed A. Khan (CRD# 4615944), and Richard L. Brown (CRD# 3245291) allegedly bought and sold FNRG stocks without informing investors and potential investors that they had a financial incentive to recommend these investments, buying and selling FNRG stock in order to make it look like there was genuine interest, and claiming to be independent of FNRG while hiding payments from broker dealers and stock promoters who potential investors and broker dealers. According to the Department of Justice, these fraudulent actions cost investors as much as $131 million between January 2009 and April 2015.
Cocuzzo was reportedly paid $18,500 between January and April of 2015 in kickbacks / commission payments by an FNRG executive in exchange for his involvement in the scheme. Cocuzzo, the other brokers, and FNRG executives involved in the scheme allegedly attempted to conceal this information by communicating with each other by using encrypted, content-expiring messaging software, prepaid phones, and cash payments.
Our securities fraud lawyers at Meyer Wilson previously reported on the fraudulent activities of these five brokers in May of 2016. If you lost money investing with former Newbridge Securities Corp. broker Gerald Cocuzzo, contact the securities fraud attorneys at our firm to discuss your case. All cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, so you will only need to pay legal fees once we help you recover the money you lost. Fill out our online form to give us more information about your situation, or call us at one of our offices to speak with a member of our firm today.