Edward Durante, who served a 10-year prison term following his securities fraud conviction in 2001, has been charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with perpetrating another scheme to defraud investors.
Using such aliases as Ted Wise, Efran Eisenberg and Anthony Walsh to hide his criminal history, Durante is alleged by the agency to have solicited investors, selling shares of a shell company he secretly controlled and lying to them about how the proceeds of the stock sales would be used. Durante claimed that the proceeds would be used to fund the company’s operations, but instead he tapped those funds for his own personal use, among other unrelated purposes.
According to the agency, Durante used his prison time to lay the groundwork for his next stock fraud. He used the name Anthony Walsh to acquire the shell company VGTel Inc. Then, from 2012 to 2014, he defrauded at least 50 relatively inexperienced investors through at least $11 million in sales of VGTel stock.
According to the SEC, Durante held sales meetings with investors under his Ted Wise alias in such locations as San Diego and Tewksbury, Massachusetts. Separately, he bribed investment advisors to steer clients toward VGTel stock purchases while keeping quiet about the money they received from Durante to do so. He also engaged in matched trading of VGTel stock with a stockbroker to artificially control the stock’s market price.
In a statement, Andrew Calamari, director of the SEC’s New York regional office, said in part, “Durante shamelessly peddled worthless stock under phony names to steal millions of dollars from unsuspecting investors.”
In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has also announced criminal charges against Durante.
Attempts to reach Durante for comment were unsuccessful.
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