SEC Charges Mark Burnett, Jeffrey Miller, Christian Romandetti, Frank Sarro, Anthony Vassallo, and Elite Stock Research
On November 15, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) brought charges against a Long Island, New York-based boiler room previously sued for defrauding elderly and unsophisticated investors. The charges allege that First Choice Healthcare Solutions Inc. CEO Christian Romandetti, the boiler room, and four others, manipulated the company’s shares generating more than $3.3 million of illegal profits and more than $560,000 in kickbacks for Christian Romandetti.
The SEC’s complaint alleges that Christian Romandetti, Mark Burnett, Jeffrey Miller, Frank Sarro, Anthony Vassallo, and Elite Stock Research duped more than 100 victims in a scheme that inflated First Choice’s stock price from less than $1 per share to $3.40 per share. According to the complaint, from at least September 2013 until about June 2016, the defendants used multiple accounts in an attempt to disguise their trading, engaged in manipulative trading practices, and hired Elite Stock Research, a boiler room run by defendant Anthony Vassallo, to promote First Choice to vulnerable investors, some of who invested retirement savings.
In a related action in July 2017, the SEC originally charged boiler room Elite Stock Research, as well as another Long Island boiler room and 13 individuals, with bilking victims out of more than $10 million through high-pressure sales tactics and lies about penny stocks. Seven of those individuals have pleaded guilty to parallel criminal charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. The SEC’s litigation against the 13 individuals is continuing.
The SEC action, filed in federal district court in Central Islip, New York, charges Christian Romandetti, Anthony Vassallo, Mark Burnett, Jeffrey Miller, Frank Sarro and Elite Stock Research with fraud. Mark Burnett, Jeffrey Miller, Frank Sarro, and Anthony Vassallo were also with market manipulation. The SEC is seeking permanent injunctions, return of allegedly ill-gotten gains with interest, civil penalties, penny stock bars, and officer-and-director bars against Romandetti and Burnett.
In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York announced parallel criminal charges against Romandetti, Burnett, Miller, and Sarro.
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