3 California men convicted of trying to defraud investors with phony CBD company

Three California men have been convicted for trying to boost the stock price of a shell CBD company by writing bogus press releases making it seem like the business was prospering.

Chip Hackley, George Matin and Harold Minsky pleaded guilty to conspiracy, wire fraud and securities fraud, Law360.com reported. Hackley and Matin were sentenced last week to 15 months in prison and two years of supervised release.

The trio had acquired all of the company’s restricted and free trading shares to control the timing, volume and price of trades after issuing press releases, according to court documents. Prosecutors said the men agreed to give an initial 40% cut to someone to write the fake releases, but the person cooperated with the FBI.

Prosecutors said the men hoped to make $4 million by artificially boosting the stock price of Holy Grail, a shell company on the penny stock exchange that purported to be a successful maker of hemp CBD products.

The men were charged separately in January 2018.