Former Oil CEO Gets Five Years in the Slammer

     HOUSTON (CN) – The former CEO of an oilfield equipment maker was sentenced to five years in federal prison for using a bogus press release to sell the company’s stock at an inflated price, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
     James Roland Dial, 56, of Houston pleaded guilty in March 2011 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, prosecutors said in a statement.
     Dial admitted he conspired with Evan “Nick” Jarvis, 39, of Magnolia, Texas, and Alex Ellerman, 36, of Chicago, by inflating the price of publicly traded Grifco International stock, prosecutors said in the statement.
     “Dial admitted knowing that Grifco issued a press release to the public on March 3, 2005, containing false information about Grifco’s revenue and net income and that he willfully and knowingly profited from the false press release by selling Grifco stock to the public at an inflated price. “The stock ultimately became worthless,” the U.S. attorney said.
     About 300 fleeced investors, several of whom said they lost their life savings, submitted statements to the court for consideration in Dial’s sentencing.
     Dial was ordered to pay restitution that will be determined within 90 days.
     Jarvis and Ellerman pleaded guilty to conspiring with Dial and will be sentenced on June 1, prosecutors said.

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