NY man pleads guilty in $20 mln stock-tip scam

By Jessica Dye

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A former employee of an investment-advisory firm pleaded guilty to charges that he helped scam $20 million from unsuspecting investors by peddling bogus stock tips from a Staten Island strip mall.

Baldwin Anderson, 57, entered the plea one day after his trial began.

Prosecutors said Anderson pressured individuals into paying thousands of dollars for phony investment advice, newsletters, trading recommendations and money-management services from Gryphon Holdings Inc, doing business as Gryphon Financial.

Anderson originally pleaded not guilty and his trial began Monday. In a hearing on Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein, he pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud conspiracy, according to a spokesman for the federal prosecutor’s office in Brooklyn.

Anderson faces a maximum prison sentence of five years for the conspiracy charge.

He was among 14 defendants charged by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn in 2010 with conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud in connection with Gryphon.

He faced one count of securities fraud, 27 counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud. He faced a maximum sentence of 20 years for each count of securities and wire fraud, and five years for the conspiracy charge.

All of his fellow defendants have entered guilty pleas and are scheduled to be sentenced in July.

Anderson is also facing a separate civil lawsuit from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with the Gryphon case.

The case is U.S. v. Marsh et al., in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, no. 10-00480. (Reporting by Jessica Dye; Editing by Jesse Wegman and John Wallace)