SAN DIEGO, California: Five people, including a San Diego lawyer, were indicted last week by a federal grand jury for participating in securities fraud crimes.
The indictment charges the five individuals with manipulating the market for the stock of Arias Intel, Corp. According to court records, this scheme included efforts to artificially inflate the price and volume of Arias Intel’s stock by controlling the majority of the company’s free-trading shares through concealed offshore accounts, coordinating press releases with expected stock promotions, and the use of high-pressure call rooms targeting innocent investors.
Each of the five defendants – Andrew Hackett, 29, of Toronto, Canada; Vikram Khanna, 53, of Porter Ranch, California; Kuldeep Sidhu, 47, of Vancouver, British Columbia; Annetta Budhu, 53, of New York, New York; and Kevin Gillespie, 49, of Tampa, Florida – spoke on recorded calls about various aspects of their scheme. Sidhu has been detained pending trial.
“These fraud schemes victimize all investors and compromise the integrity of our financial markets,” said U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman. “We are committed to holding accountable those who try to manipulate the system for their own profit.”
“For the United States to maintain its vibrant economy, the American people must have trust and confidence in our markets,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge John Brown. “The FBI will continue to aggressively pursue these complex and coordinated fraud schemes in order to protect the American people and our economy.”
Motions to detain Lindsay and Hackett will be heard on July 17 and 19, 201 respectively. Budhu and Gillespie made their first appearances in the Southern District of California on July 13, 2018, and Khanna will make his first appearance on July 27, 2018.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has also taken action against Giguiere, Lindsay, Gillespie, Budhu and Hackett.
Summary of charges:
Conspiracy – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 371
Securities Fraud – Title 15 U.S.C., Sections 78j(b), 78ff; and 17 C.F.R., Section 240.10b-5
Maximum penalty: 20 years’ imprisonment and $5,000,000 fine
FBI (lead agency)
Securities and Exchange Commission
Criminal Prosecution Assistance Group, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority