Not a joke: National Lampoon Execs charged over stock scam

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is suing, and US Justice Department has filed charges against executives of National Lampoon for a stock pumping scam.

The charges allege that CEO Daniel Laikin and three other people paid kickbacks to a stock promoter to pump up National Lampoon stock.

The SEC is asking the court for an order immediately barring the company and Laikin from similar misconduct in the future, and is seeking to impose an unspecified fine.

Acting United States Attorney Laurie Magid said in a release that the Justice Department today was unsealing three indictments and information charging seven individuals with conspiracy and securities fraud. The charges pertain to four separate schemes designed to artificially inflate the prices of National Lampoon.

According to the release:

According to the charges, between March and June 2008, National Lampoon CEO Daniel Laikin conspired with Dennis Barsky, who is listed on National Lampoon SEC filings as a “consultant,” to pay others, including Eduardo Rodriguez and the CW, to artificially inflate the price of National Lampoon stock. Rodriguez enlisted Tim Dougherty, a Rochester, New York stock promoter, to assist in the scheme. Dougherty was paid approximately $40,000 to make purchases in National Lampoon stock with the objective of driving up the share price. Dougherty made his purchases over the course of a number of days and used various accounts to give the false impression of a steady demand for the stock.

Laikin told Rodriguez and the CW that he wanted the stock price to increase from approximately $2 per share to $5 per share to make it more attractive for “strategic partnerships” and “acquisitions.” In addition to paying others to purchase the stock, Laikin shared confidential financial information regarding the stock, non-public news releases, and confidential shareholder lists, and coordinated the release of news with the illegal purchases in the stock. Barsky helped direct the purchases and facilitated the kickback payments.

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