Man Guilty of Role in Stock “Pump and Dump” Scheme

Man Guilty of Role in Stock “Pump and Dump” Scheme

Christian Meissenn, AKA “Christian Nigohossian,” 44, of Suffield, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty on Tuesday, November 8, in New Haven to conspiracy and tax evasion charges stemming from his involvement in a securities fraud scheme.

According to court documents and statements made in court, between approximately 2009 and July 2016, Meissen and others conspired to defraud investors through a stock “pump and dump” scheme.  Meissen and his co-conspirators induced investors to purchase securities by making false and misleading representations in calls, emails and press releases concerning the securities and the issuing companies, thereby causing the price of those securities to become falsely inflated.  The issuing companies, most of which were essentially shell companies controlled by Meissen ’s associates, included Terra Energy Resources Ltd. (stock symbol “TRRE”); Mammoth Energy Group, Inc. (stock symbol “MMTE”), a company that later became Strategic Asset Leasing Inc. (stock symbol “LEAS”); Trilliant Exploration Corporation (stock symbol “TTXP”); Electric Motors Corporation (stock symbol “EMCO”); Hermes Jets, Inc. (stock symbol “HRMJ”), which later became Continental Beverage Brands Corporation (stock symbol “CBBB”); and Fox Petroleum, Inc. (stock symbol “FXPT”).  The conspirators then sold positions in those securities that were held by conspirators and their designees at the falsely inflated prices, thereby enriching the members of the conspiracy.

After selling their own shares at a profit, the conspirators allowed the price of the securities to fall, leaving investors with worthless and unsalable stock.  As a result, victim investors lost millions of dollars.

Between 2011 and 2015, Meissen earned approximately $4.4 million through this scheme and diverted a large portion of the profits into the trust account of an attorney rather than a bank account in his own name.  He then directed the attorney to withdraw cash for Meissen ’s personal use, and to wire funds and issue checks for the benefit of Meissen and his family members.  Meissen failed to report this income to the Internal Revenue Service during the 2011 through 2015 tax years, and failed to pay more than $1.5 million in federal income taxes.

Meissen pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, and one count of tax evasion, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.

His sentencing is scheduled for January 31, 2017.  At sentencing, Meissen will be ordered to pay restitution to his victims, as well as back taxes, interest and penalties to the Internal Revenue Service.