Criminal charges against 15 individuals in 12 separate fraud cases were announced Monday by the Department of Justice.
The cases were the most recent results of the Southern District of Florida Securities and Investment Fraud Initiative, which was created in December 2010 to protect the interests of the public.
The defendants in the 12 cases announced Monday included CEOs and penny stock promoters involved in kickback and market manipulation schemes, according to authorities.
“Because the FBI and our partners were able to disrupt these schemes early on through our undercover operations, the investing public was protected,” said John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Miami Field Office.
The initiative, which combats Ponzi schemes, false bankruptcy petitions and foreign exchange fraud, has charged 85 defendants in the district since it began, resulting in $1.5 billion in restitution. The southern district ranks second in securities and investment fraud investigations and prosecutions.
Agencies participating in the initiative include the U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI and SEC.