A Hartford attorney was recently sentenced to three years in prison for his involvement in a securities fraud scheme.
According to court documents and statements, Corey Brinson was a licensed attorney and worked as the nominal securities counsel for several companies between approximately October 2010 and July 2016. The companies has securities that were marketed and sold to the investing public by Christian Meissenn and his business associates in a “pump and dump” scheme.
Meissenn and his associates led investors to purchase securities by providing false information about the securities and the issuing companies, thereby causing the price of those securities to become falsely inflated. After selling their own shares at a profit, the scheme’s participants allowed the price of the securities to fall, leaving investors with worthless and unsalable stock. As a result, investors lost millions of dollars.
As part of the scheme, Brinson signed, or permitted others to affix his signature to, false and misleading attorney opinion letters that were designed to provide assurances to securities transfer agents and prospective investors.
Brinson also received deposits of millions of dollars in proceeds of securities transactions into his Interest on Lawyer Trust Account (IOLTA). Rather than use the proceeds to purchase securities and fund operations at the underlying companies, Meissenn and others directed Brinson to distribute nearly all the money – approximately $3 million – to relatives, associates and shell companies associated with Meissenn and his associates.
In exchange for providing his services, Brinson received approximately five percent of the proceeds that passed through his IOLTA, and also received payment for preparing the false opinion letters. As a result of these activities, Brinson’s personal gain was a total of approximately $200,000.
Brinson was ordered to pay $1.42 million in restitution.
Brinson pleaded guilty on Jan. 20, 2017, to one count of engaging in a monetary transaction in property derived from specified unlawful activity.
Brinson surrendered his law license in November 2016.
Meissenn pleaded guilty on Nov. 8, 2016, to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and one count of tax evasion. He awaits sentencing.