The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently filed a complaint alleging that during the period of March 2012 through February 2013, Edmond L. Lonergan and the Green Planet Group, Inc. (Green Planet) engaged in a fraudulent market manipulation scheme. According to the SEC, this scheme involved illegal bribes to a corrupt promoter and his buying group to purchase shares of Green Planet in the open market. However, the corrupt promoter working for Mr. Lonergan was actually an informant cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The SEC alleged that Mr. Lonergan engaged in this scheme in an effort to generate the appearance of market interest, induce public purchases of the company’s stock, artificially increase volume in Green Planet stock and increase the stock’s trading price to sell his own Green Planet stock.
The SEC alleged that Mr. Lonergan and the FBI informant first agreed to engage in a fraudulent Green Planet stock market manipulation on March 30, 2012. Mr. Lonergan allegedly told the informant that he wanted him to cause two to three million shares of buying and increase the stock price from a half a cent to maybe two or three cents. Mr. Lonergan allegedly promised the FBI informant 1 share of stock for every 3 to 5 shares of purchases his group generated in the market place. The SEC further alleged that Mr. Lonergan agreed to arrange for Green Planet to issue timed press releases and provide advance copies to the witness of “front run news” before Green Planet actually issued the releases to the public. Mr. Lonergan then removed the restrictive legend on two stock certificates totaling 1 million restricted shares of Green Planet to allow the shares to be sold in the market place as payment for the informant’s role in the scheme. As part of the sting, the FBI purchased a total of 125,600 shares of Green Planet stock. Continue Reading