A California man was charged on Tuesday with collaborating with his father and five others in a pump-and-dump scheme that defrauded investors in a tech company of nearly $45 million.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said Kalistratos “Kelly” Kabilafkas of Moorpark, Calif., concealed his control of Airborne Wireless Network as part of an alleged fraud that culminated in him and his associates reaping $23 million by dumping shares in Airborne while also raising $22 million from investors through public and private offerings.
During the promotional campaign, including television commercials, to “pump” Airborne’s stock, the share price rose from $0.45 in April 2016 to a high of $3.89 in February 2017.
Kabilafkas’ alleged associates included his father Timoleon “Tim” Kabilafkas and Airborne CEO Jack Daniels. According to an SEC civil complaint, he and his family used some of the proceeds from the scheme to buy real estate and pay for luxury vehicles and improvements to his home.
“Kelly Kabilafkas orchestrated a wide-ranging scheme to deceive gatekeepers, conceal from investors the true ownership of a public company, and then manipulate the company’s stock,” Jennifer S. Leete, associate director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, said in a news release.
According to the SEC, Kabilafkas’ vehicle for the alleged fraud was Ample-Tee Inc., a shell company that he acquired for $350,000 in October 2015, including a control block of 84.1 million restricted shares and 30 million S-1 shares.
Kabilafkas allegedly hid his ownership of Ample-Tee by, among other things, placing the restricted shares in the name of Daniels and giving about 13.6 million of the S-1 shares to his father and other alleged associates.
The defendants “falsely completed share transfer paperwork, and made other false and misleading statements, to … convince broker-dealers to accept [the shares] for deposit and clear them for sale to the public,” the SEC said.
Ample-Tee changed its name in May 2016 to Airborne Wireless Network, which purported to be developing a network to connect aircraft in flight through wireless routers.