Two former brokers, Christopher Cervino and Larry Werbel were allegedly involved in a scheme to inflate the market for VGTel Inc. shares, a penny stock company. Their scheme allegedly defrauded more than 100 investors out of more than $15 million. Mr. Cervino was sentenced to one year and a day in prison last year, after he was found guilty of securities fraud by a federal court in New York. Mr. Werbel has pleaded guilty to fraud charges and is waiting for sentencing. Both were ordered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to pay James Mirgliotta and the estate of his late wife, Bette, $595,000 in compensatory damages and $250,000 in punitive damages.
Christopher Cervino was previously registered with H.J. Meyers & Co., Sharpe Capital Inc., Ladenburg, Thalmann & Co., Carlin Equities, RBC Capital Markets, Lighthouse Financial Group, GFI Securities, Delaney Equity Group, Wilson-Davis & Co., COR Clearing, and Primary Capital in New York, New York from October 2014 until January 2016. He has one customer dispute pending against him, two regulatory matters, one civil and one criminal pending charge. He has been permanently barred from the industry, according to public FINRA records.
Mr. Werbel was previously registered with Cigna Financial Advisors, FSC Securities Corp, LPL Financial, Summit Brokerage Services, and Concorde Investment Services in Chagrin Falls, Ohio from April 2015 until January 2016. He has seven customer disputes against him, three regulatory matters, one civil pending dispute, and one criminal pending charge. This is according to FINRA, as well. He has also been permanently barred from the industry.