A California securities lawyer who the SEC previously barred from the industry helped fraudsters run an alleged $54 million pump-and-dump scheme, according to an indictment filed Feb. 28.
Kenneth G. Eade helped set up shell companies to hide stock ownership and provided opinion letters falsely clearing the stock for sale, according to the indictment the Justice Department filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
The agency charges Eade with securities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit securities fraud. The scheme ran from October 2007 to September 2014, the indictment said.
Eade’s payment for the opinion letters wasn’t “tied to the engagement or complexity but based off of the amount of misrepresentations” in each letter, DOJ said.
The scheme led investors to put about $54 million into the manipulated companies, the indictment said. “In all, the co-conspirators gained between hundreds of thousands to tens of millions of dollars” for their roles in the scheme, DOJ said.
The Securities and Exchange Commission sued Eade in 2012 for helping a company that employed him as corporate counsel to mislead investors. He agreed in 2014 to pay about $74,000 in disgorgement, interest, and fines. He also agreed, without admitting wrongdoing, to a five-year bar from the securities industry.
An attorney for Eade wasn’t listed on the docket and couldn’t be identified for comment. Emails sent March 1 to two accounts associated with Eade didn’t get an immediate response.
The case is United States v. Eade, N.D. Ohio, No. 19-cr-00108, indictment filed 2/28/19.