Former SEC lawyer guilty of fraud

Jan. 29, 2010 at 1:53 AM

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan. 29 (UPI) -- A Dallas lawyer who once worked for the Securities and Exchange Commission has been convicted of conspiracy and wire and securities fraud.

In a news release Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department said Phillip Offill Jr. was immediately jailed after the verdict. He is to be sentenced in April and faces significant prison time.

"It is a sad day when a former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission attorney uses what he learned in the government to later defraud the investing public," Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division said. "As this case shows, individuals who illegally manipulate our securities markets to line their own pockets will be brought to justice."

Investigators said Offill and David Stocker, a Phoenix lawyer, were involved in 2004 in a scheme known as "pump and dump." They used press releases and spam e-mails to drive up the price of securities in certain companies and then dumped the stock.

They also evaded stock registration requirements so that the true financial condition of the companies involved did not have to be revealed.

Stocker pleaded guilty last year.

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