San Diego, CA–A 47-year-old Los Angeles resident was sentenced in federal court to 21 months in prison for participating in illegal securities fraud schemes.
Ongkaruck Sripetch, who used the aliases “King Richards” and “Shelby Saint-Claire,” pleaded guilty in February. He admitted that he failed to comply with securities regulations requiring that stock offerings be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He also admitted that his relevant conduct included conspiring with his co-defendants to pump-and-dump the stock of two companies: Ottawa, Canada-based VMS Rehab Systems, which claimed to sell “quality of life orthopedic seat cushions for the home healthcare sector,” and Argus Worldwide, a company headquartered in Cheyenne, Wyoming, which purportedly focused on “digital/internet products and services, smart consumer electronic products and health industries.” In reality, the companies did not live up to the defendants’ claims.
Through these pump-and-dump schemes, Sripetch and his co-conspirators artificially inflated the price of these stocks and then sold the stocks to unwitting investors through the public securities markets.
In handing down the sentence, U.S. District Judge Marilyn Huff noted that “real people lost real money” while the “defendant was living a lavish lifestyle” with his fraud proceeds.
“Pump-and-dump schemes victimize investors who are sold a bill of goods,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “But these schemes also erode the integrity of the United States’ securities markets.”
“Sripetch learned the hard way that crime does not pay, and today’s sentencing should send a clear message to anyone thinking they can get away with defrauding innocent investors for their personal gain,” said Special Agent in Charge Stacey Moy of the FBI’s San Diego Field Office.