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Former Toronto resident Sandy Winick figured he was on to a good thing with his scam raking in millions of dollars from investors, U.S. authorities allege, telling a colleague his scheme was better than another: “That deal is obviously a pump-and-dump. We know enough to be subtle.”
His business partner, Kolt Curry, another Canadian, allegedly boasted: “The money is good, it’s easy. It’s easy money. Definitely easy money, and it’s good money.” And for awhile, they were right.
On Tuesday, however, they were two of four Canadians indicted in the United States, alongside five Americans, charged with running the largest international penny stock and advance fee frauds in history.
Mr. Winick, 55, was named as the mastermind behind the two related schemes that U.S. prosecutors allege bilked victims in 35 countries out of more than $140-million.
Despite being named as the kingpin, Mr. Winick was not among those taken into custody. He is considered a fugitive and believed to be in Bangkok, Thailand, where he has been living after stints in China, Vietnam, and the United States.
Also missing when U.S. authorities moved against the men was Gregory Curry, 63, another Canadian also believed to be in Thailand. Gregory and Kolt Curry are father and son
Shortly before 9 a.m. Tuesday, Canadians Kolt Curry, 38, was arrested by the FBI in Garden City, New York, and Gregory Ellis, 46, was arrested in Toronto on behalf of U.S. authorities. Mr. Ellis was expected to have been in New York at the time of the arrests but now faces a U.S. extradition request.
“Where others saw citizens of the world, the defendants saw a pool of potential marks,” said Loretta Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, when announcing the arrests.
“They cheated, lied and swindled investors into buying billions of shares of worthless stock, then turned around and used a second scam to cheat those investors again. But today, the defendants were the marks, and it was law enforcement that ran the table.”
According to prosecutors, Mr. Winick concocted schemes to hit a wide pool of victims — and then to hit them again by taking more money with promises of reimbursing their initial losses.
First came a pump-and-dump.
The men are accused of taking control of huge quantities of worthless stock in 11 publicly traded companies.
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