A Dunwoody man has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison following a conviction on market manipulation and investment fraud.
Marc E. Bercoon, 58, of Dunwoody and William A. Goldstein 54, of Alpharetta, were both sentenced July 24 to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release following their prison terms and a nearly $1.5 million payment of restitution, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office based in Atlanta.
In February, Bercoon and Goldstein were convicted by a jury on 12 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and securities fraud.
The two men were found guilty of manipulating the market for shares of MedCareers Group Inc., a publicly traded company and owner of Nurses Lounge, a professional network for nurses. They were also found guilty of carrying out a second investment fraud scheme using a new business corporation that they organized as the bait for investors, according to the press release.
“These defendants manipulated the stock of a publicly traded company by orchestrating two schemes, netting over $2.5 million from investors,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak in the release.
“At the same time they were rigging the stock market, the defendants fleeced dozens of investors in a separate fraud scheme. [This] sentencing marks a fitting end to the defendants’ long history of cheating investors out of their hard-earned money.”
From July 2009 through September 2011, Bercoon and Goldstein conspired with others to manipulate the market for shares of MedCareers Group, Inc., according to Pak.
“The conspiracy culminated in two ‘pump and dump’ schemes carried out in March and May 2010. To carry out these schemes, Bercoon and Goldstein arranged for MedCareers Group, Inc. (MCGI) to issue a series of misleading press releases and SEC filings, at the same time as co-conspirators sent out mass emails touting the stock,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
While the price of MCGI and the demand for the stock were both artificially high because of these efforts, the defendants orchestrated a sell-off of their stock, coordinating activity in multiple “nominee” accounts, which were titled in the names of other people and entities to hide the defendants’ involvement, Pak said.
From May 2009 through June 2010, Bercoon and Goldstein also carried out a second investment fraud of, Find.com Acquisition, Inc., a privately-held company, and then solicited investments from dozens of individuals, according to Pak.
“Bercoon and Goldstein told investors, and induced brokers working for them to tell investors, that their funds would be used to develop an internet search engine named Find.com. Bercoon and Goldstein used the bulk of the over $1.5 million raised from investors for unrelated purposes, such as subsidizing their other business ventures and making payments to themselves and their family members,” according to the press release. “In fact, over $550,000 of the $1.5 million invested in Find.com Acquisition, Inc. was simply withdrawn from the bank in cash shortly after being invested.”
In 2010, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued Bercoon and Goldstein in connection with a separate investment fraud scheme concerning LADP Acquisition, Inc. A judgment of over $3 million was entered against both men in that case.