A former Jamestown man currently living in Texas has admitted running a penny stocks scheme that saw him scam more than a million dollars out of at least 250 victims.
Between 2009 and 2012, 33-year-old Eric Cusimano and others ran the stock fraud scheme by utilizing several websites, such as www.bestdamnpennystocks.com, which claimed to have 52 penny stocks. Cusimano told investors stock prices were based on supply and demand, but he and others rigged the amount at which stocks were bought and sold.
All told, Cusimano made $1.2 million and scammed at least 250 people.
While running this scam, Cusimano also owned and operated Premiere Consulting, which he used to promote penny stocks. Between 2008 and 2011, the business had $7.9 million in unreported gross receipts, and Cusimano failed to pay $657,000 in taxes.
Cusimano pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and tax evasion. As part of his plea, he is forfeiting $1.2 million, two pieces of property on the Southern Tier, a 26-foot Pontoon boat, several valuable pieces of jewelry and $340,000 in accounts he held in Panama and Belize.
He will be sentenced in March and faces up to 10 years in prison, five years for each charge, and a fine of $250,000.