– The last defendant charged in relation to a more than $40 million securities
fraud “pump and dump” conspiracy has now been convicted, announced U.S.
Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. With the guilty plea of John David Brotherton, 59, of League City, today,
all seven defendants charged in the case now
Ian Farmer, 40, Thomas Galen Massey, 48,
Eddie Douglas Austin Jr., 68, Carolyn Price
Austin 64, and Charles Earl Grob, 38, all
of Houston, and
Scott Russell Sieck, 60, of Winter Park, Florida, all
had previously entered pleas of guilty for their respective roles in the case.
Massey, Eddie Austin, Brotherton,
Sieck and Grob admitted they participated in a
conspiracy to commit fraud in microcap securities. During the course of
the conspiracy, these six defendants obtained control
of the stock of numerous companies, then “pumped up” the price of the stock through false and
misleading press releases and fraudulent trading techniques. They then “dumped”
their shares of stock onto the market for a significant profit.
part of her plea agreement, Carolyn Austin admitted she knew of the intended
manipulation of the stock prices and acted to conceal this fact from law enforcement.
District Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore has set Brotherton’s sentencing for June 3,
2019, along with Sieck,
Grob and Massey.
Eddie and Carolyn Austin are set for June 17, while Farmer will be sentenced
June 24. Farmer faces up 10 years in prison, while Carolyn Austin’s conviction
carries a possible three-year-term of imprisonment. The remaining defendants
face a maximum of five years.
seven defendants could also be ordered to pay up to a $250,000 fine.
the exception of Brotherton, who is in now in custody following violations of
of release, the remaining defendants were permitted
to remain on bond pending their respective
The FBI conducted the investigation with the
assistance of the Securities and Exchange Commission and Financial Industry
Regulatory Authority. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justin R. Martin and Michael Chu
are prosecuting the case.