Alvin S. Mirman, of Sarasota, Florida, was accused Thursday of fraudulently registering and secretly selling stock in shell companies. He was charged by federal prosecutors with conspiracy to commit securities fraud in a penny-stock scheme that netted $6 million. Last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a civil complaint against Mirman, claiming he violated numerous federal securities laws by selling “blank-check” companies that were falsely presented to investors as legitimate start-up businesses. Mirman was a former stockbroker who was banned from the securities industry in 2007. Allegedly, Mirman, along with other conspirators, recruited individuals to serve as straw CEOs for shell companies, some of which had addresses in Sarasota and Manatee counties. For almost seven years, the conspirators prepared phony corporate documents, including stock certificates and shareholder lists, and submitted them to the SEC in order to register securities offerings. The men then would find people to pretend they were shareholders, thereby creating class of shares that could be publicly traded. The “shareholders” were promised money after the company was sold. The buyer’s acquisition of the company would typically take the form of a reverse merger and be publicly disclosed. The secretly controlled unrestricted shares would typically be transferred to a third party or other account designated by the buyer, and would not be disclosed to the SEC or the public. In this way, the buyer would be in a position immediately to engage in stock swindles or other manipulation schemes.
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