Matthew Bell, former broker, received a final judgement from the U.S. District Court of Eastern District of New York, on May 5, 2020. The court order forbids him to violate certain provisions of the federal security laws. But how did this judgment come about? What was Bell doing to deserve such a harsh response from the Court?
The Alleged Scheme
According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the story began in 2013. Bell, who allegedly pulled the strings behind the scenes, orchestrated an alleged scheme to manipulate the prices of CodeSmart Holdings, Inc. securities.”CodeSmart”).
Who were the puppeteers in this grand show? The SEC alleges that Bell and an individual used their customers in brokerage, including some elderly clients, as unwitting performers. The script? Invest in CodeSmart. What’s the twist in the story? Bell sold his CodeSmart shares while he bought shares for customers.
Charges and judgments
In response to Bell’s alleged actions, the SEC accused him of violating several sections of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 as well as Rule 10b-5. These charges weren’t taken lightly. Bell was permanently banned from violating any of the provisions charged by the court on December 22, 2022.
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The curtain did not fall at that point. The court issued a final judgment against Bell on May 5, 2023. In order to comply with this ruling, Bell agreed to forfeit $552,725 of ill-gotten gain and prejudgment interests. This payment was satisfied, however, by the restitution ordered in a criminal proceeding.
The SEC and its role
Todd Brody and Lindsay Moilanen, of the New York Regional Office, handled the SEC litigation. Sheldon L. Pollock supervised them. Joseph Sansone was also involved. The SEC thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of New York as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their assistance.
This case, like a well-crafted drama, serves as a stark warning of the dangers of violating federal securities law. The case highlights the SEC’s commitment to protecting investors, and maintaining fair, efficient, and orderly markets. This should be a lesson for all of us: fraud schemes will end.