Garrett Harris 12:36 a.m., June 19
Pennies from hell
New Jersey trader pleads guilty to manipulating SD penny stock
Mark Allen Lefkowitz has pleaded guilty to conspiring with an as yet unnamed chief executive of a San Diego company to manipulate the company's stock. The news release doesn't mention penny stocks, but this is almost certainly one -- probably a company that has no or almost no business, trading for a few pennies a share. To effectuate the manipulation that helped insiders and nicked other investors, the company issued 9 billion -- repeat, 9 billion -- shares that were not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Exploiting a little-known provision of securities laws, the company entered into loan agreements with companies owned by Lefkowitz, most based in the offshore tax haven of the Turks & Caicos Islands, a buccaneer cove of some renown. Lefkowitz could get up to 25 years, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.