Friday, January 3, 2014

White Collar Crime Leads To Two-Year Suspension

An attorney who was convicted of conspiracy to commit securities fraud was suspended for two years by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

A press release from the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts describes the scheme

The defendants were convicted for their roles in a conspiracy to pay secret kickbacks to an investment fund representative in exchange for having the investment fund buy stock in publicly-traded companies that traded on the over-the-counter securities market. The kickbacks were concealed through the use of sham consulting agreements and other fraudulent documents. What the defendants did not know was that the purported investment fund representative was actually an undercover agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The convictions followed a year-long investigation focusing on preventing fraud in the micro-cap stock markets. Microcap companies are small publicly-traded companies whose stock often trades at pennies a share. Fraud in the microcap markets is of increasing concern to regulators as such markets have proven to be fertile grounds for fraud and abuse. This is, in part, because accurate information about microcap stocks may be difficult for the average investor to find, since many microcap companies do not file financial reports with the SEC.

Clearly, this was not the expected outcome of his selection as president of China-WiMax Communications  in May 2009

China Wi-Max Communications announced here today, the appointment of Steven T. Berman as its new President.  Steven is a senior telecommunications executive with over 20 years of business and legal experience.  In addition, he has served as corporate general counsel, operations manager, a regulatory and compliance strategist and as a contract negotiator.  His background includes managing staff and operations in telecom companies plus financial and manufacturing operations.

 His extensive telecommunications background comes from almost ten years at the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC) where he helped launch DIRECTV in 1994.  Steven served as Senior Vice President, Business Affairs and General Counsel at the NRTC and was also Corporate Secretary-Treasurer.  He was the NRTC’s principal liaison with strategic partners, financiers and its largest customers.  Steven managed business relations and legal components of manufacturing, transport, storage, insurance and delivery of various telecommunication products and services – including Direct Broadcast Satellite, broadband, high-speed Internet access and wireless operations, warranty programs, and call center support.
Mr. Berman stated that among his immediate priorities will be the continued advancement of the Company’s business model in Beijing and raising capital to meet the company’s expanding needs.
The court noted that similar sanctions had previously been imposed for "white collar" crimes. (Mike Frisch)

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