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U.S. fraud charges are brought against a New Jersey deli company claiming a $100 million dollar valuation

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U.S. fraud charges are brought against a $100 million New Jersey deli company claiming a $100 million dollar valuation. Federal prosecutors announced Monday that three individuals have been charged with fraud and other crimes in connection with a scam involving a firm that, despite only having a small-town New Jersey deli to its name, was valued at $100 million on the stock market. Paul Morina, the coach of a high school wrestling team in New Jersey and  is  the CEO of a $100 million company that only owns one deli.

CNBC reported, “Hometown International owns a delicatessen  and only one small delicatessen — in Paulsboro, where the Morina coached high school wrestling team frequently wins state championships. The company has disclosed that it has shareholders based in China’s Macau territory.”

CNBC continued to mention, “The pastrami must be amazing.”  The  hedge fund manager David Einhorn cracked of the company, whose stock from late March 2020 to early September rose to more than $9 per share from $3.25 per share despite the deli, its only operating business being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic during that time frame.”

How can it be that a company with  valuation of $100 million have $35,000 in income sales? Well, according to financial documents, the store operated by the company, Your Hometown Deli, only generated $35,000 in combined sales during the previous two years. The deli reported a net loss of $631,356 and  $153,930 loss for 2019. Prosecutors said the strategies “artificially inflated” the values of Hometown International and E-Waste stock by 939% and 19,900%, respectively.

The Justice Department reported, “In addition, the defendants transferred shares to family members, friends, and associates and gained control over their trading accounts by obtaining their log-in information in order to conceal the defendants’ involvement. The defendants then used those accounts to commit a number of coordinated trading events, often referred to as match and wash trades, to trade in Hometown International and E-Waste Corp.’s stock on both sides of the transaction.” The Justice Departent also stated, “The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

A $15,000 per month consulting agreement with a significant stakeholder has been cancelled by the unidentified firm that owns the money-losing Paulsboro deli that attracted global notice after investors unearthed its mysteriously high valuation of more than $100 million. In Hometown’s annual report from the previous year, the consulting agreement with Tyron was mentioned with only the brief explanation that it was “to support in the research, development, and analysis of product, financial, and strategic matters.” However, Peter Coker Sr., the CEO of Tyron Capital, is identified in financial papers as a significant shareholder in Hometown. Hometown’s chairman is Peter Coker Jr., his son.

Hometown International, a Nevada-incorporated business that appears to have no assets other than the New Jersey deli, announced Monday that it was terminating its consulting agreement with Tyron Capital of North Carolina in its first filing with federal regulators since coming under increasing scrutiny. Tyron Capital is a company based in North Carolina.

Hometown International, a Nevada-incorporated business that appears to have no assets other than the New Jersey deli, announced Monday that it was terminating its consulting agreement with Tyron Capital of North Carolina in its first filing with federal regulators since coming under increasing scrutiny. Tyron Capital is a company based in North Carolina.

Peter Coker Sr., 80, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina; James Patten, 63, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and Peter Coker Jr., 53, of Hong Kong were each charged with 12 counts, including conspiracy to conduct securities fraud, fraud in the sale of securities, and price-rigging. On Monday, police detained Patten and Coker Sr. Coker Jr. has not been located.

According to federal authorities, Patten is also accused with money laundering, four charges of wire fraud, and four counts of securities manipulation. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also charged the men with market manipulation. Patten was prohibited from functioning as a stockbroker or interacting with broker-dealers by FINRA, the broker-dealer regulator. He was the target of numerous FINRA disciplinary procedures. In a case where he was charged with manipulating the price of a stock listed on the Nasdaq in 2006, he was able to successfully challenge the sanctions imposed by an SEC court. Ira Sorkin, best known for defending Ponzi scheme kingpin Bernie Madoff, represented Patten in that case.

The company was delisted from the financial market where its stock was traded. OTC Markets Group around April of 2021.

 

Maximum sentences for the offenses of securities fraud and securities price manipulation are 20 years in jail and a $5 million fine. The maximum sentence for the crimes of wire fraud and money laundering is 20 years in prison. The maximum sentence for both the conspiracy to conduct securities fraud and the conspiracy to influence securities prices is five years in jail.

 

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