A very long time ago, July 2007 to be exact, a Shaughnessy mansion located at 1178 Laurier Avenue in Vancouver, Canada, was shot up. No one was hurt. People said that the shooter was a member of the Hell’s Angels, angry over losses he incurred from a pump and dump stock scheme that dumped too early, before he could liquidate his shares.
The owner of the mansion, now worth $14 million, was Canadian Scott Marshall, who was alleged by both the RCMP and the SEC to be a pump and dumper of at least two microcap companies. People say that after his mansion was shot at, Marshall fled to the US.
Typology of pump and dumps
Pump and dump activities are a different breed of financial crime. In terms of typologies, they more closely resemble acts of terrorism because they involve actors who engage in a variety of preparatory criminal conduct prior to the commission of the crime. In terrorism, these acts could include crimes related to the creation of false identities for group members, thefts to procure funding for the group and thefts of weapons or explosive materials. These behaviours may ultimately culminate in acts of terrorism.
The preparatory behaviour of pump and dumps is sophisticated – it involves a lot of planning with co-conspirators and can often take a year or more and involve domain name registration, offshore shell company formation, the issuance of fake stock certificates, opening of offshore bank accounts, locating a lawyer to unwittingly write false legal opinions to release restricted shares, and the recruitment of touters and promoters. Like terrorism, it is the preparatory activities that can lead more quickly to the detection of the criminal activities, rather than the commission of the predicate culminating offence.
House of fraud
Sometimes a particular pump and dump does not involve a significant ramp up of preparatory activities. In those cases, it’s because the same facilitators are already in place. These guys build a house of fraud and simply run different companies through the front door and out the back.
Intertech Solutions, Inc.
According to the SEC, Scott Marshall undertook preparatory activities from his office in Vancouver, to line up a pump and dump scheme tied to an issuer named Intertech Solutions, Inc., which raised US$7 million from investors fraudulently.
One of the touters that Marshall hired to solicit investments from the public was a man by the name of Clinton Maurice Tucker II.
Clinton Tucker II
Tucker II is reclusive. Since the shoot-out in 2007, he has gone a little off the grid. But not entirely.
From December 2014 through at least May 2019, the SEC says he became re-activated and began to assist in the fraudulent pumping and dumping of the stock of different companies using the same techniques, mostly from the area around Trabuco Canyon, California. Some of the investors Tucker II pumped stocks to, were from Canada. The SEC says he pumped stocks for Scott Marshall.
In May of this year, the SEC filed a complaint against Tucker II, charging him with various serious violations of US securities laws. Tucker II stayed hidden and did not participate in the SEC action. Today, the SEC obtained a default judgment against him and asked the Court to impose sanctions that could exceed US$1 million.
The SEC had pursued Scott Marshall as well, together with another Vancouver man, a CPA named David Michael Naylor, in connection with Intertech Solutions Inc. They settled with the SEC and agreed to pay US$7.4 million.
During the course of those years, a number of reporters covered stories of the alleged infiltration of the Hell’s Angels in the capital markets of Vancouver. For example, here and here.
The RCMP, together with the British Columbia Securities Commission, took action against Scott Marshall in respect of pump and dump activities but some of those efforts did not succeed in a British Columbia Court.
A “snake pit“
Back then, a reporter wrote that people should worry about the number of Vancouver companies trading on the OTC markets because it was a “snake pit” and those people with companies listed on the OTC markets make “lousy neighbours, some representing a clear and present danger”, to which he meant of course, the danger of living beside Scott Marshall.
According to the SEC, Marshall and Naylor both have homes in Los Cabos, Mexico. It is a seaside town favoured by Vancouver and Mexican transnational criminal organizations.
In this interview with a Quebec chapter of the Hell’s Angels, its members say that while lots of their members have criminal records, they are simply a marginalized group in society.