San Diego, CA–Five men from California, Nevada, and Florida were charged in an indictment unsealed with conspiring to manipulate the market for the stock of a healthcare company whose products include COVID-19 diagnostic tests.
The group is accused of manipulating the market for the stock of Global WholeHealth Partners Corporation, which advertised itself as a company focused on healthcare-related development and products.
The defendants include Brian Volmer of Carson City, Nevada; Joshua Yafa of Boca Raton, Florida, and his brother, Jamie Yafa of Kissimmee, Florida; Charles Strongo of San Clemente, California; and Carl Marciniak of Minden, Nevada. All were arrested or otherwise contacted by law enforcement in their hometowns.
According to the indictment, the defendants’ crime involved efforts to run a pump-and-dump scheme in Global WholeHealth Partners’ stock. Their scheme included maintaining control over the company’s free-trading shares through secret nominee accounts; artificially inflating the stock’s price and trading volume by promoting the stock through high-pressure call rooms and penny stock newsletters; engaging in manipulative stock trading; and selling the stock at inflated prices to unwitting investors. The defendants collectively spoke on dozens of recorded calls about key aspects of their scheme.
“Pump and dump schemes deteriorate the integrity of the securities markets and destroy Main Street investors’ confidence in their ability to invest on a level playing field,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “This case should serve as a reminder that individuals who manipulate the United States securities markets are being scrutinized by law enforcement and will be held accountable.” Grossman thanked the prosecution team, the FBI, and the Securities and Exchange Commission for their excellent work on this case.
“These defendants engaged in a conspiracy to inflate stock prices through false and misleading information to enrich themselves and make a quick profit,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Suzanne Turner. “The FBI is proud to work alongside our partners at the United States Securities and Exchange Commission to preserve the integrity of the stock market and protect honest investors.”
The Securities and Exchange Commission has also taken civil action against several of the defendants in the case.
If convicted, the defendants face 20 years in prison and a $5 million fine.