A Canadian citizen and permanent resident of Costa Rica was sentenced today to 48 months in prison for his role in an international money laundering conspiracy in connection with international “pump and dump” securities fraud scheme.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia and Special Agent in Charge Timothy Slater of the FBI’s Washington Field Office Criminal Division made the announcement.
Michael J. Randles, 49, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga of the Eastern District of Virginia. In October 2016, Randles pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering conspiracy.
According to admissions made in connection with his plea agreement, Randles controlled and operated an offshore brokerage and money laundering platform located in San Jose, Costa Rica, that went by various names, including Moneyline Brokers, Sandias Azucaradas, and Trinity Asset Services (collectively Moneyline) with his co-conspirator Harold Bailey Gallison II. Randles admitted that the purpose of Moneyline was to trade securities, primarily microcap or “penny stocks,” through U.S. and offshore accounts. While managing Moneyline’s Costa Rica office, Randles exercised authority over banking and financial transactions; operated Moneyline’s unregistered securities business in Europe; and opened U.S. and offshore brokerage and bank accounts, including in Europe and elsewhere, that were used to facilitate the conspiracy. Randles admitted that Moneyline often did business under the names of various shell companies to conceal both the true source and ownership of the securities and the flow of the funds.
Further, in connection with his plea, Randles admitted that Moneyline laundered approximately $1 million in proceeds from the pump and dump of the Colorado-based company Bryn Resources Inc. While Bryn Resources purported to be engaged in the mining and exploration of precious metals in Canada, in reality, Bryn was a shell company with no or nominal operations or assets. During the promotion of Bryn Resources, over 3.5 million shares of the company were liquidated through Moneyline accounts, generating the proceeds that were laundered through Moneyline accounts in the United States and overseas.
Three of Randles’s co-conspirators, Gallison, Ann Marie Hiskey and Roger G. Coleman, previously pleaded guilty in the case. Gallison was sentenced to serve 216 months in prison; Hiskey and Coleman were each sentenced to two years’ probation.
FBI’s Washington Field Office investigated the case. Senior Trial Attorney N. Nathan Dimock and Trial Attorney Michael O’Neill of the Criminal Division's Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Grace L. Hill of the Eastern District of Virginia prosecuted the case. The Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs also provided significant assistance.