An Atlanta lawyer who represented himself at trial was convicted Monday of conspiracy after a jury concluded he duped investors with phony press releases so he could sell his own stock in two fledging companies at a profit.
Ulysses Thomas Ware, 46, was convicted of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Sentencing was set for July 27.
Prosecutors indicated sentencing guidelines could call for a sentence of between eight and 10 years in prison. They asked that he be held without bail, saying he had failed to show up to court proceedings in other cases over the past decade.
U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III let him remain free but ordered him to pay $25,000 in cash toward bail within a week. He also doubled his bail from $100,000 to $200,000.
According to the government, Ware offered to help companies through consultant work and financial advice he offered through his law firm. In return, the young companies would give him quantities of their stock, prosecutors said.
During closing arguments, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Feldman said Ware caused investors to lose money by sending false press releases over the Internet, prompting the stock price to inflate as buying interest grew.
Feldman said it was Ware’s goal to “create false hype about stocks and get unsuspecting people … to buy the company’s stocks so Ware could dump his own shares and make a lot of money for himself.”
The so-called “pump-and-dump” scheme caused Ware to make $225,000 in one four-month period, Feldman said.