A New York securities lawyer faces 1½ years in prison and will pay $4.6 million in fines after admitting to orchestrating a stock manipulation scheme. His alleged accomplices, two Canadian stock promoters, were also charged with fraud Tuesday for allegedly scheming to inflate the prices of penny stocks to reap millions of dollars in profits.
Adam S. Gottbetter, managing partner of Gottbetter & Partners LLC and owner of Gottbetter Capital Investments, a registered broker-dealer, and K. David Stevenson, a Vancouver-based stock promoter, agreed to settle charges brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, on Tuesday. A third defendant, Mitchell G. Adam, of Vancouver, was arrested May 20 and is contesting the SEC’s claims.
The SEC alleges that over a six-year period, Gottbetter orchestrated promotional campaigns that touted the prospects of micro-cap companies and enticed investors to buy their stock at inflated prices.
The SEC seeks an order barring Gottbetter, Adam and Stevenson from participating in the offering of penny stocks, payment of disgorgement, and payment of civil penalties.
In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey announced criminal charges against the three men.
Gottbetter agreed to pay $4.6 million to settle the SEC’s complaint, and will serve 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to the criminal charges.
Stevenson pleaded guilty in December and will be sentenced in May.
“As a securities lawyer, Gottbetter should have served as a gatekeeper and protected the capital markets and investors from fraudsters. Instead, he swung the gates wide open and illicitly profited at investors’ expense,” said Andrew Ceresney, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.