New York prosecutors claim Herschel Knippa, a former broker who pitched “worthless” stock to investors and television viewers, is looking at prison time for participating in a $131 million market manipulation scheme.
U.S. Attorney Robert L. Capers in Brooklyn says Herschel, who goes by “Tres,” of Dallas, Texas pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to commit securities fraud.
Authorities say the scheme ran from around 2009 to 2015 and artificially controlled the price and volume of traded shares of ForceField Energy Inc., a distributor of LED lighting products.
They claim Herschel Knippa got kickbacks to shill the stock at investor conferences and as a TV guest commentator.
Participants communicated with burner phones and encrypted text messages, according to the prosecution.
Knippa could be sentenced to up to five years in prison, restitution and a fine.