One of the members involved in a penny stock fraud conspiracy that defrauded investors of over $35 million was sentenced Monday to 72 months in prison.
Jeffrey Turino, 60, of Pahrump, was charged in an indictment with conspiracy to commit securities fraud and securities fraud in connection with a penny stock fraud scheme.
On Aug. 22, 2016, Turino pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud. According to the plea agreement, beginning in about 1997 continuing until about March 2010, Turino conspired with others to fraudulently issue, offer, and sell stock issued by corporate shells which they controlled, including World Wide Cannery and Distribution, Global Diamond Exchange, Inc., Equitable Mining Corporation, ODMA Oil and Gas, Inc. and Grand Entertainment and Music, Inc.
Additionally, Turino and conspirators engaged in deceptive practices and issued misleading press releases to promote these companies and to give the impression that they were actively engaged in the importation and sale of products, when in truth, the companies were hollow shells that did not engage in regular or substantial business activities, did not produce any goods, services, or profits, and did not commercially import products as promoted in their news releases.
According to the plea agreement, Turino and his conspirators fraudulently induced investors to purchase billions of unregistered shares of stock in the companies, which the conspirators had deceptively issued without requisite restrictions and disclosures. Although these penny stocks typically traded for less than one cent per share, the billions of shares of stock that the conspirators offered and sold in the public market yielded proceeds of more than $35 million, which was divided and distributed among Turino and the other conspirators.
In addition to the prison incarceration, U.S. District Judge Jennifer Dorsey sentenced Turino to five years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $35 million in restitution.
The case was investigated by the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation.