Baltimore man among 100 caught in N.Y. stock sting

Local broker is linked to $899,000 sale of dubious stock

Securities fraud

June 16, 2000|By Gail Gibson | Gail Gibson,SUN STAFF

Among the more than 100 people arrested this week in a New York securities sting was a Baltimore man described in court papers as one of the salesmen who fraudulently sold $899,000 in dubious stock in a medical equipment company.

Vadim S. Shapiro, 29, was arrested Wednesday by FBI agents at an office in Owings Mills. At a court appearance yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel E. Klein Jr., Shapiro posted a $200,000 bond and was ordered to appear Thursday in federal court in New York, where the case originated.

Shapiro's attorney, William H. Murphy Jr. of Baltimore, said his client would plead not guilty at next week's hearing. Shapiro is charged with conspiring to commit securities fraud.

The national crackdown involved more than $50 million in alleged illegal profits and named as defendants members of five of New York's largest organized-crime families. The charges were outlined in 16 loosely-related indictments and seven criminal complaints unsealed Wednesday in federal court in New York.

Murphy said that organized crime ties are not a factor in the case involving Shapiro. Both Murphy and Shapiro, who appeared in court yesterday with his wife and father, declined to comment further on the case.

Shapiro was one of eight defendants named in one of the 16 indictments. The indictment involved investment schemes in three companies and focused on four defendants who had ties to each of those schemes.

The indictment linked Shapiro to one of those schemes involving Diagnostic Professional Imaging Services Inc.

It described Shapiro as a representative of Hornblower and Weeks Inc., a New York securities broker-dealer registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The indictment charges that Shapiro made unsolicited "cold" calls to find people willing to invest in Diagnostic stock.

According to the indictment, the investors' money went to pay "exorbitant sales commissions" and to enrich the scheme's leaders.

From March through November 1998, the indictment says the defendants, including Shapiro, duped investors into buying about $899,000 in Diagnostic stock.

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