Alleged marijuana stock pump-and-dumper agrees to fine, trading ban

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A federal judge ordered an alleged co-conspirator in a marijuana stock pump-and-dump scheme to pay a fine of more than $150,000, court records show but without an admission of any guilt.

David Ferraro, who allegedly worked with previously convicted Justin Costello to promote microcap stocks, also “conducted his own stock promotion scheme,” according to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission attorneys.

Ferraro netted total profits from these stock-promotion schemes in excess of $109,000, the SEC alleged.

Costello, a former CEO of Seattle-based cannabis investment bank GRN Funds, pleaded guilty in January to securities fraud after he posed as a billionaire and war veteran in order to fool investors.

In a final judgment in the case against Ferraro, entered in federal court on July 11, he avoided civil penalties and admission of guilt.

However, Ferraro agreed to be “permanently barred” from future involvement in any penny stocks, court records show.

According to the SEC’s initial complaint, Ferraro posted “hundreds of tweets” promoting stocks connected to Costello without disclosing that Costello planned to dump the stocks as soon as the price rose or that the pair would share the resulting profits.