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San Diego penny stock tout and manipulator Lawrence Isen, who has been in trouble with law enforcement about as long as he has been in the business, was named July 12 in civil charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and criminal charges by the U.S. Attorney's office in the Eastern District of New York, for participation in stock manipulation scheme that preyed on the elderly.

The SEC said that Isen and 12 other individuals ran a cold-calling scam that bilked more than $10 million from 100 victims, many elderly. It was basically a pump and dump scheme, said the SEC. The participants got tiny, penny stocks cheap, then used fraudulent techniques to run the stocks up while they peddled them to naive investors. Then they dumped the stocks on the market, deflating the stocks immediately and leaving the victims' pockets empty.

Isen's MarketByte LLC, which promotes penny stocks, was named in the SEC action. Bloomberg lists MarketByte's address as 3525 Del Mar Heights Road Suite 334 in Carmel Valley.

The U.S. Attorney's office cast a somewhat broader net, charging 14 defendants, including Isen, for running a multi- million dollar stock manipulation scheme — the scam cited by the SEC. The criminal charges include conspiracy to commit securities fraud and money laundering. The government restrained Isen's residence, seizing bank accounts containing alleged criminal proceeds and automobiles purchased with alleged criminal proceeds, according to the indictment.

Isen and four others were charged in a scheme to launder $14.7 million.

In 1993, the SEC charged Isen and cohorts with running a stock manipulation scheme. In 2001, Isen was slapped with a cease-and-desist order by the SEC for defrauding brokerage customers with deceitful claims and other manipulative devices. In 2003, the SEC charged Isen with publishing stock recommendations and getting thousands of shares for his touts, and not telling those he sold them to how he had gotten them.

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Comments

Don Bauder July 16, 2017 @ 10:01 p.m.

Thomas Weller: Exactly. Isen has been conning people (many elderly or mentally enfeebled) for years. Each time, the SEC has come down on him and he has given the standard statement: "I didn't do it but I won't do it again." I am delighted to see criminal charges finally filed. Best, Don Bauder

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Bob_Hudson July 17, 2017 @ 10:59 a.m.

Robbery is much more lucratuve when you use a pen (or computer) instead of a knife or gun.

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Don Bauder July 17, 2017 @ 11:20 a.m.

Bob Hudson: Absolutely. The sharks on Wall Street, while probably donating to the NRA, don't need a gun to lift lucre from wallets Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 17, 2017 @ 11:26 a.m.

Mike Murphy: While deploring justifiable homicide, I do approve of justifiable punches in the nose. A good friend of mine got scammed by, and then got pestered by, a crook who was based in Switzerland. My friend hired a Swiss guy to beat the stuffing out of the crook, who never pestered my friend again. Best, Don Bauder

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JustWondering July 17, 2017 @ 1:31 p.m.

And I thought the Swiss, with their self imposed position of neutrality, always remained neutral in international disputes. Guess it's okay when you beat somebody up for money.

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MURPHYJUNK July 18, 2017 @ 7:14 a.m.

usually, just meeting the person away from their office ( familiar territory ) gives them the idea they need to make things right.

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Don Bauder July 21, 2017 @ 6:32 a.m.

Murphyjunk: Several variables here 1. Are they armed? 2. Are you? 3. Are they bigger and tougher than you or the person you select to whack them? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 21, 2017 @ 2:54 p.m.

Murphyjunk: Never worried? Hmmm. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 22, 2017 @ 7:45 a.m.

Murphyjunk: Any intelligent person or company needs a Plan B or Plan C. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 17, 2017 @ 2:35 p.m.

JustWondering: The Swiss, although they have reformed somewhat in recent years, are still the major repository for the world's dirty money dodging taxes and regulation. They take money from bandits in any country, so they are not really neutral. When it comes to warfare, they are neutral, but in economic warfare they are in the center of international hostilities. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh July 17, 2017 @ 2:54 p.m.

In my family there is a tax attorney who handles offshore tax compliance work. He's very busy these days bringing US citizens (and others who are subject to the US tax code) into compliance. After contact with Swiss bankers, he now thinks they are all crooks. He has no liking for any of them at all, and knows how they helped get otherwise honest folks into trouble with the IRS. He's doing very well with his practice, and his clients are willing and eager to pay him handsomely to get them in out of the cold.

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Don Bauder July 21, 2017 @ 6:26 a.m.

Visduh: Were those who stashed money in Switzerland "otherwise honest?" Most were probably dodging U.S. taxes or regulations. They may have had to pay to stash the money offshore. Best, Don

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Visduh July 21, 2017 @ 9:08 p.m.

There were many different stories. In some cases the violators were unwitting due to having been beneficiaries of trusts or inheritors of accounts set up by others. Some stashed cash while working overseas. Others knew better, but were reassured by the bankers that Swiss secrecy was inviolate and would be fools not to have such funds and ignore the tax consequences. So there were degrees of guilt.

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Don Bauder July 22, 2017 @ 7:49 a.m.

Visduh: The Swiss used to say that secrecy is inviolate, but they can't say it honestly now because they do, on some occasions, release information. As I say, they are not as crooked as they used to be, but they are still crooked. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh July 22, 2017 @ 5:48 p.m.

Don, The Swiss caved in a few years ago, and now "rat out" any/all of their US domiciled depositors to the IRS. Any US citizen should avoid Swiss banks in any shape or form.

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Don Bauder July 23, 2017 @ 7:56 a.m.

Visduh: Switzerland's loosening up has helped make the Cayman Islands one of the handful of largest money centers in the world. Other Caribbean isles, and havens elsewhere around the world, are now picking up business that in the past would have gone to Switzerland. Best, Don Buader

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cromeow July 21, 2017 @ 9:18 a.m.

This link is to an SEC court filing against Isen that doesn't appear to be in the article: https://www.sec.gov/litigation/complaints/2007/comp20407-isen.pdf

Although the filing addresses acts by Isen in 2003, it doesn't match the description of the 2003 complaint in Bauder's article.

I wish the justice system better understood that only jail will deter most of the so-called white-collar criminals. The parasites will treat everything else as a cost of doing business.

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Don Bauder July 21, 2017 @ 3:03 p.m.

croneow: That is the same complaint I referred to -- publishing touts in his magazine and getting free stock for the touts, and not informing people on whom he dumped the shares how he got them. Best, Don Bauder

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