The defendants were named in 16 indictments and seven criminal complaints unsealed in Manhattan federal court. The security fraud charges involve publicly traded stock of 19 companies and the private placement of securities of 16 other companies.
Among the defendants are Sebastian Rametta, president and chief executive officer of the Ranch*1 fast food chain, and James Chickara, the chain�s vice chairman, according to the firm�s Web site. The two restaurant executives allegedly are associates of the Colombo crime family, according to court papers.
The defendants also include Frank Persico, an alleged associate of the Colombo crime family and a registered stock broker who controlled crews of brokers at various brokerage firms including First Liberty Investment Group, Inc.; and Gene Phillips, who controlled Basic Capital Management, the investment adviser to American Realty Trust, a New York Stock Exchange-listed real estate investment trust or REIT.
Another defendant is William Stephens, the chief investment strategist of Husic Capital Managemnet, a San Francisco-based investment adviser who allegedly agreed to manage up to $300 million in union pension funds knowing that a portion would be invested in corrupt deals aimed at funding kickbacks to certain defendants and corrupt union officials.
The long list also includes a former New York Police Department detective, 57 licensed and unlicensed stock brokers, three recruiters of allegedly corrupt brokers, 12 stock promoters, 30 officers or other �insiders� of companies issuing securities involved in the fraud, an investment adviser and a hedge fund manager.
Search warrants were executed at four locations in New York, one in Dallas and one in Salt Lake City, Utah.