A federal judge sentenced eight former brokers, advisers, and salesmen—including alleged ringleader Izak Zirk de Maison of Redlands, California—to prison for their roles in a widespread penny stock fraud scheme that cost investors $39 million in losses.
Additional brokers sentenced include Stephen Joel Wilshinsky (CRD #859686) and Gregory Evan Goldstein (CRD #2412387), both formerly of Marquis Financial Services in Tarzana, CA. Wilshinsky's employment prior to Marquis included a stint at Oppenheimer & Co's Woodland Hills branch where he amassed numerous customer complaints and arbitration claims.
In 2014, the SEC charged eight people in a pump-and-dump microcap fraud scheme and accused de Maison aka Izak Zirk Engelbrecht of serving as the fraud's mastermind. The 2014 complaint coincided with FBI arrests of De Maison and Wilshinsky in Los Angeles, and named additional personnel affiliated with a firm called Gepco Ltd., including Californians Trish Malone, Peter Voutsas, and Ronald Loshin. The document made reference to Peter Marco, LLC (controlled by Voutsas), which operated Peter Marco Extraordinary Jewels of Beverly Hills.
Gepco aka WikiFamilies featured prominently in the scheme, which investigators said manifested when de Maison covertly operated the company and collected large blocks of Gepco common stock shares, subsequently manipulating the market to create a false appearance of demand for Gepco stock, all before dumping the stock for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
De Maison, who purportedly embezzled $39 million in investor monies on top of the pump-and-dump, received the harshest sentence: 12 years in prison and an order to pay $39.1 million in restitution.
Woodland Hills' Wilshinsky received a three-year prison sentence and $4.2 million restitution order; the only other Californian sentenced was Gregory Goldstein of Stevenson Ranch, who similarly received a three-year prison term and $6.3 million restitution order.
In 2014, following more than a three years of aggressive litigation, our office obtained an arbitration claim on behalf of a Southern California family and obtained an award in excess of $310,000 against Goldstein and Marquis Financial. Wilshinsky filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and obtained a discharge prior to the conclusion of the arbitration. Unfortunately, the award remains unpaid.
If a broker or adviser recommended you invest in penny stocks with unproven track records and you suffered losses or experienced other adverse effects to your investments or interests as the result such recommendation, please call The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for investigation and consultation.
Release: Eight people sentenced to prison for penny-stock fraud that resulted in $39 million loss to investors (US Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio)