WASHINGTON–Roland Kaufmann, CEO of Axius Inc., was sentenced today to serve 16 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to bribe purported stock brokers and manipulate the stock of a company he controlled.
Kaufmann, 60, a Swiss citizen, was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge John Gleeson in the Eastern District of New York. In addition to his prison term, Kaufmann was sentenced to serve three years of supervised release and ordered to pay a fine of $450,000.
Kaufmann pleaded guilty in January 2013 to one count of conspiracy to violate the Travel Act in connection with a scheme to bribe stock brokers to purchase the common stock of a company he controlled and to manipulate its stock price. As part of his plea agreement, Kaufmann forfeited $298,740 gained through this crime.
According to court documents, Kaufmann controlled Axius, Inc., a purported holding company and business incubator located in Dubai. As part of the scheme, the defendant and his co-conspirator, Jean Pierre Neuhaus, enlisted the assistance of an individual who they believed had access to a group of corrupt stock brokers, but who was, in fact, an undercover law enforcement agent. Court documents reveal that they instructed the undercover agent to direct brokers to purchase Axius shares in return for a secret kickback of approximately 26 to 28 percent of the share price. Kaufman and Neuhaus also instructed the undercover agent as to the price the brokers should pay for the stock and that the brokers were to refrain from selling the Axius shares they purchased on behalf of their clients for a one-year period. By preventing sales of Axius stock, Kaufmann and Neuhaus intended to maintain the fraudulently inflated share price for Axius stock.
Jean Pierre Neuhaus has pleaded guilty and been sentenced for his role in the scheme.