Executive to pay $1.9 million

Software firm's head accused of insider trades

Internet fraud

May 27, 2000|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

WASHINGTON - The president of an Akron, Ohio, software development firm has been ordered to pay $1.9 million in a "pump and dump" and inside trading case, regulators said yesterday.

The Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that P. Joseph Vertucci, president of Interactive MultiMedia Publishers Inc., schemed to pump up Interactive's share price by paying publications to tout the stock on the Internet.

When Interactive's price rose, Vertucci and several others sold their shares at a profit, the SEC alleged.

The stock subsequently collapsed and the company ceased operation, while Vertucci failed to respond to the allegations, the SEC said.

In a default judgment, an Ohio federal judge ordered Vertucci to pay $829,000 of allegedly ill-gotten gains and $262,380 in interest, plus an $829,000 civil fine.

U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster also barred Vertucci from serving as an officer or director of certain public companies and enjoined him from breaking securities laws in the future.

Vertucci could not be reached for comment.

The case against him was part of a nationwide SEC campaign against Internet fraud.

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