- Associated Press - Thursday, May 28, 2015

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Two Canadian men have pleaded guilty to a stock manipulation scheme in U.S. District Court in Newark.

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said Thursday 52-year-old Michael Taxon, of Toronto, and 52-year-old Itamar Cohen, of Thornhill, Ontario, to charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud.

Officials say from 2007 to 2008 the men and others inflated share prices of two publicly traded companies in order to later sell shares at artificially higher prices.

The scheme targeted Oklahoma City-based Raven Gold Corporation and Kentucky USA Energy Inc. and brought in more than $17 million in illicit proceeds.

Taxon and Cohen received $2.4 million.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offense.

Sentencing is set for Sept. 2.

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