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Fraudster Plotted Crime in the Pen, Feds Say

MANHATTAN (CN) - A convicted securities fraudster hid his criminal past after leaving prison to solicit new investors, parallel actions from federal regulators and prosecutors allege.

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed its 13-page action Friday against Edward Durante just as he appeared in federal court on criminal charges.

Durante is accused of using aliases such as Ted Wise, Efran Eisenberg and Anthony Walsh to solicit investors after serving 10 years in prison on a 2001 securities fraud conviction.

The SEC says Durante defrauded investors by selling shares of a shell company he secretly controlled.

Though Durante claimed that stock-sale proceeds funded company operations, Durante actually put them to his personal use, according to the complaint.

Durante was still in prison when he began his next stock, acquiring a shell company called VGTel Inc. by using the name Anthony Walsh, the SEC says.

At least $11 million in sales of VGTel stock from 2012 to 2014 then defrauded at least 50 relatively inexperienced investors, the SEC said.

Prosecutors say Durante called himself Ted Wise to hold sales meetings with investors across the country in San Diego and Tewksbury, Mass.

Investment advisers took bribes from Durante to steer clients VGTel's way, without disclosing they had been incentivized.

"Durante also engaged in matched trading of VGTel stock with a stockbroker to artificially control the stock's market price," according to an SEC statement.

The SEC's complaint charges Durante under Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Sections 9(a)(1) and 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5.

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