Two Atlanta area men were hauled into federal court back in 2010, accused of using a bait and switch scheme to bilk investors of more than $3 million. While that civil case was still winding through the justice system, federal prosecutors say the men already had other investment schemes under way.
Now, Marc E. Bercoon, 54, of Dunwoody, and William A Goldstein, 51, of Atlanta, are back in federal court, this time facing criminal charges.
In the 2010 case, the Securities and Exchange Commission say the two men enticed investors to pour more than $3 million into what was purportedly a Los Angeles TV and film company which was about to go public. Instead, Goldstein and Bercoon diverted the money to a different company, misappropriating almost $875,000 for their own use. They were ordered to pay disgorgement of their ill-gotten gains and were fined $150,000 each. The judge also ordered them to go forth and do no more fraudulent schemes involving buying and selling of securities.
That didn't end federal scrutiny. Using court-authorized wiretaps, the FBI was listening in on phone conversations. This week, the two men were arrested on federal charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering in connection with what the U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta called two fraudulent schemes.
One involved a company called MedCareers Group. Around 2009, the two men had acquired control of a publicly traded company, Rx Scripted, and changed it name to MedCareers. Then, according to Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn, they manipulated the price of the stock, sending out misleading press releases while co-conspirators sent out mass emails touting the stock. Once the price soared, the men orchestrated a massive sell-off, hiding their involvement by using the names of others, the government alleges.
About the same time, the government says, Bercoon and Goldstein organized a private corporation, Findcom Acquisition. Investors - told that their money would be used to develop an Internet search engine named Find.com - poured in $1.5 million. Brokers got commissions as high as 35% for selling stock. "In fact, much of the $1.5 million invested in Find.com was simply withdrawn from the bank in cash shortly after being invested," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a news release Wednesday.