(Cheyenne, WY) – Acting United States Attorney Bob Murray today announced that a federal jury in Cheyenne has returned guilty verdicts against a man from Pennsylvania and two men from Florida in connection with a stock market fraud involving NuTech Energy Resources Inc ., a company that claimed to operate coal bed methane wells in Wyoming.
Justin Herman, 50, of Canonsburg, Pa., And Charles “Chuck” Winters Jr., 61, of Bradenton, Fla., Were convicted of fraud and identity theft.
Lawyer Ian Horn, 67, of Brandon, Fla., Has been acquitted of the felonies charged but convicted of making a false statement to the grand jury.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Herman and Winters conspired with Robert “Bob” Mitchell, who pleaded guilty earlier this year, to pump and dump the shares of NuTech.
A “pump and dump” is a form of securities fraud in which conspirators manipulate the demand for a stock and the price of the stock, then sell their worthless stocks to the public at an artificially high price.
In this case, the conspirators bought control of a publicly traded shell company called EcoEmissions Solutions Inc. and changed the name of the company to NuTech Energy Resources, whose shares were sold under the symbol NERG.
The conspirators posted information online to create a false image of NuTech as a Gillette-based company that operated gas wells in Wyoming using patented technology.
In reality, NuTech had no business, no income, and no paid employees in Wyoming or elsewhere.
As part of the plot, Herman and Winters used altered, backdated and forged documents to acquire 13 billion free shares of NuTech.
The conspirators then artificially inflated the market price of NuTech’s common stock by manipulating transactions and releasing false and misleading information to the public about NuTech’s business prospects.
When the market price rose based on this false information, the conspirators turned around and sold their worthless NuTech shares to unwitting investors in the public market, including investors in Wyoming and around the world.
Ian Horn is a licensed Florida lawyer. As part of the investigation, Horn was subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury in January 2019 because his name appeared on documents related to NuTech and because the money Mitchell and Herman used to buy control of EcoEmissions had been transferred through Horn’s bank accounts.
Jury found Horn lied during his grand jury testimony about NuTech-related email communications he falsely claimed to have lost and could not access even though he still had access to his email and was forwarding relevant emails to Herman in December 2018.
Herman and Winters were each convicted of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, securities fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and on several counts of aggravated identity theft.
Herman faces a mandatory two-year prison sentence and could be sentenced to a maximum of 53 years in prison.
Winters also faces a mandatory two-year prison sentence and could be sentenced to a maximum of 49 years in prison.
Horn has been found guilty of making a false statement to the grand jury and could be sentenced to up to 5 years in prison.
The defendants are expected to be sentenced by the Honorable Alan B. Johnson, United States District Court Judge, in Cheyenne on January 5, 2022.
Bob Mitchell is to be sentenced by Judge Johnson on October 15, 2021.
Mitchell could be sentenced to a maximum of 25 years in prison.
“These convictions are the direct result of a diligent investigation by a hard-working Postal Inspector and our partners in the Home Office of the Inspector General’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Wyoming District,” said said Ruth Mendonca, inspector in charge of Denver. Division, which includes Wyoming.
“Working together, their perseverance untangled the accused’s complex ploy to defraud more than 2,300 victims and deliver the justice every victim deserved. We are proud of our efforts to uphold the United States Postal Inspection Service’s mission to protect postal customers and consumers from fraudsters, ”Mendonça said.
This matter was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Office of the Inspector General of the United States Department of the Interior.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Eric Heimann and Thomas Szott prosecuted the defendants.
The Financial Sector Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Assistance Group for Criminal Proceedings participated in the investigation and prosecution.