A New Jersey-based securities trader who admitted to orchestrating a stock market manipulation scheme and tax fraud that netted more than $17 million in illegal profits was sentenced to 18 months in prison Tuesday.
Joseph Taub had pleaded guilty in July to securities fraud and conspiracy to defraud the United States. The 41-year-old Clifton resident had faced up to 25 years in prison on the two counts.
According to an indictment, Taub and others conspired between 2014 and 2016 to manipulate the securities prices of numerous public companies by coordinating trading in dozens of brokerage accounts he secretly controlled. Taub and others used “straw accounts,” often in the names of the co-conspirators’ children, spouses and parents, to conduct much of his trading, the U.S. attorney’s office in Newark said.
The scheme worked by using multiple trades to artificially depress then inflate the stock prices of smaller companies whose stocks were thinly traded and could easily be manipulated, then selling the stocks for a profit at the higher price. A criminal complaint released in 2016 alleged Taub and others bought and sold about $10 billion worth of securities in 2014 and 2015 in furtherance of the scheme.
Taub also admitted he hid the identities of the people who actually controlled the straw accounts from the IRS so that the profits from those accounts would be taxed at a lower rate. The ruse enabled him to avoid paying more than $394,000 in taxes.
Under terms of his plea agreement, Taub will repay the IRS and forfeit $17 million.
“The plea agreement and sentence reflect a compromise of legal and factual interpretations by both sides, resulting in a just resolution to bring a long and painful legal saga closer to its end,” Taub’s attorney, Jack Arseneault, said in an email.