Eight Former Employees of Defunct Brokerage Firm Hampton Porter Investment Bankers are Indicted by Federal Grand Jury
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Acting Assistant Attorney General Christopher Wray of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Debra W. Yang announced that eight southern California residents were indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury in the Central District of California, in connection with a securities fraud scheme that bilked more than 100 investors nationwide of an estimated $5 million. The defendants were employed by the now-defunct San Diego brokerage firm Hampton Porter Investment Bankers from 1998 to 2000.
The following individuals were named in the indictments:
- co-owner John Laurienti, 39, of San Diego;
- broker Michael Losse, 38, San Diego;
- broker David Montesano, 36, San Diego;
- broker Troy Peters, 41, Carlsbad, Calif.;
- broker Donald Samaria, 34, Alpine, Calif.;
- broker Curtis Parker, 41, La Jolla, Calif.;
- broker Bryan Laurienti, 47, Phoenix; and
- broker Adam Gilman, 39, Malibu, Calif.
The defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud (18 U.S.C. § 371) and 19 counts of securities fraud (15 U.S.C. §§ 78j (b) & 78ff). In addition, John Laurienti was charged with five counts of money laundering (18 U.S.C. § 1957) and Michael Losse was charged with making a false statement to FBI agents (18 U.S.C. § 1001). Two other former employers - James Green, retail manager, and Gregory Walker, co-owner - have already pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy charges and are cooperating with the government.
Through their investment banking deals and from other sources, Hampton Porter Investment Bankers allegedly obtained and controlled a large number of shares of certain low-priced, thinly traded "penny stocks." The brokers allegedly received special undisclosed incentive payments to push the sale of these stocks through a variety of high pressure, deceptive sales tactics. Once customers bought the stocks, raising their prices, the co-conspirators allegedly sold their shares and reaped huge profits. The indictment further alleges that the defendants prevented customers from selling their shares of the stocks by delaying or failing to execute the customers' sell orders.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Department of Justice Fraud Section trial attorneys Joshua Drew and Pamela Wechsler, along with Executive Assistant United States Attorney Edward R. McGah Jr. of the Central District of California.