Coccuzzo Sentenced to 18 Months Prison for ForceField Energy Scheme
According to a press announcement, the Securities and Exchange Commission has barred former broker Gerald Cocuzzo for his role in a $131 million market manipulation scheme involving the shares of ForceField Energy.
As we told you in July, Cocuzzo, of Delray Beach, Fla., was sentenced to 18 months in prison for his role in the fraud.
According to releases from the SEC and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, between 2009 and 2015, Cocuzzo and his co-conspirators allegedly artificially controlled the price and trading volume of ForceField Energy shares by using nominees to purchase and sell stock without disclosing the information to investors and potential investors.
In addition, they were accused of purportedly orchestrating the trading of ForceField stock to create the misleading appearance of genuine trading volume and interest in the stock. They also allegedly concealed secret payments to stock promoters and broker-dealers who promoted and sold ForceField stock to investors and potential investors while falsely claiming to be independent of the company. The fraudulent scheme caused a close to $131 million loss to the investing public, according to the Justice Department.
The Justice Department said between January 2015 and April 2015, Cocuzzo allegedly received secret cash kickbacks from a ForceField executive in exchange for purchasing ForceField stock in his clients’ brokerage accounts. Cocuzzo and his co-conspirators allegedly tried to hide their participation in the fraudulent scheme by using prepaid, disposable cellular telephones and encrypted, content-expiring messaging applications to communicate with each other.
According to FINRA Broker Check, Cocuzzo was registered with Newbridge Securities in Boca Raton, FL from December 2014 until May 2016, when he was discharged after the federal indictment was revealed. Cocuzzo has nine customer disputes listed on his Broker Check report that include allegations of unsuitability, over-concentration, and negligent supervision.
Bokerage firms are required to supervise their advisors to ensure that they are complying with FINRA rules. If it can be determined that Cocuzzo violated FINRA rules and his employers failed to adequately supervise him, these firms can be held responsible for any resulting losses in a FINRA arbitration claim.
For more information on The White Law Group’s investigation, see Gerald Cocuzzo Pleads Guilty to Securities Fraud.
Recovery of Investment Losses
This information is all publicly available. For a free consultation with a securities attorney, please call The White Law Group at 888-637-5510.
The White Law Group is a national securities fraud, securities arbitration, and investor protection law firm with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Vero Beach, Florida.
For more information on The White Law Group and its representation of investors in FINRA arbitration claims, visit http://www.whitesecuritieslaw.com.