Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of New York
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 12, 2016
Chief Executive Officer Of International Stock Transfer Sentenced To 42 Months In Prison For Operating $3 Million Securities Fraud Scheme
Defendant Used His West Palm Beach Firm to Steal Investors’ Money in New York and Worldwide
Wednesday evening, at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, Cecil Franklin Speight, was sentenced by the Hon. Roslynn R. Mauskopf to 42 months in prison following his guilty plea to conspiracy to commit mail and securities fraud for defrauding 72 investors of $3.3 million by operating an Internet stock scheme. As part of the sentence, Speight was ordered to pay $3.3 million in restitution to the victims of his fraud and $3.3 million in forfeiture.
Speight owned International Stock Transfer (IST), a registered transfer agent with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). According to court filings and facts presented at the sentencing hearing, Speight stole at least $3.3 million from victim investors and used the proceeds to pay personal expenses, including purchases at Mercedes Benz, Nordstrom, Netflix and Groupon.
The sentence was announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
“Rather than transferring capital to issuers, the defendant used the investors’ funds as his own. His victims, from the Eastern District of New York and around the world, were conned into buying bogus securities that were not worth the paper they were printed on. We will continue to pursue those who use our markets to enrich themselves through fraud,” stated United States Attorney Capers. Mr. Capers extended his grateful appreciation to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the agency responsible for leading the government’s investigation, and thanked the Securities and Exchange Commission for its assistance.
IST was founded by Speight in 2004 with offices in Palm Beach, Florida. Speight used cold callers and fake websites to entice victims into investing their money in allegedly high yield securities purportedly associated with IST. Investors were directed to wire funds into purportedly secure attorney escrow accounts. Once there, Speight typically stole the funds for his own use.
This prosecution was the result of efforts by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations. Since fiscal year 2009, the Justice Department has filed over 18,000 financial fraud cases against more than 25,000 defendants. For more information on the task force, visit http://www.StopFraud.gov.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Business and Securities Fraud Section. Assistant United States Attorney Jack Dennehy is in charge of the prosecution, with assistance provided by Assistant United States Attorney Brian D. Morris of the Office’s Civil Division, which is responsible for the forfeiture of assets.
CECIL FRANKLIN SPEIGHT
West Palm Beach, FL
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 14-CR-379