Abraxas “AJ” Discala, who founded OmniView Capital in Norwalk in 2011, began his prison sentence this month for “orchestrating a multi-million-dollar market manipulation scheme,” according to federal prosecutors.
Discala, 51, of Darien, went into custody May 2 at the Federal Medical Center, a federal prison in Ayer, Mass. Discala was sentenced to 138 months — or 11 years and six months — in prison in December 2021. He is scheduled to be released on Feb. 17, 2032, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
The court also ordered him to pay more than $2.48 million in forfeiture, and it will determine the amount of restitution at a later time.
Discala, who is the former husband and manager of “The Sopranos” star Jamie Lynn Sigler, founded OmniView Capital in Norwalk in 2011. The company was issued $300,000 in fines from the Connecticut Department of Banking in 2017 after an investigation into the sale of unregistered securities.
In May 2018, a federal jury convicted Discala of two counts of securities and wire fraud conspiracy, two counts of securities fraud and four counts of wire fraud, according to Breon Peace, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
The charges stem from his manipulation of stocks of multiple microcap or “penny” stock, including the stock of CodSmart Holding Inc., Cubed Inc. and others, Peace’s office said.
Discala alleged he was raising funds for private startup companies. He offered to take them public through reverse mergers with public shell companies in exchange for obtaining control of a large portion of the free trading or unrestricted stock, Peace’s office said.
Discala and other co-conspirators then artificially inflated the stock through “manipulative trading and promotional campaigns, generating large profits for themselves at the expense of unwitting investors,” Peace’s office said.
“Discala conspired to manipulate trading activity in penny stocks in furtherance of a scheme to defraud the securities market and investing public of millions of dollars,” Peace said in a statement when Discala was sentenced.
“Discala has been held accountable for his crimes and the harm he caused to investors,” Peace said.
The conspiracy dates back to early May 2013 when Discala and his co-conspirators engineered a reverse merger of CodeSmart with a shell public company. After gaining control of CodeSmart’s unrestricted shares, Discala and others fraudulently inflated the share price and trading volume twice, and sent out false and misleading press releases. They then sold the stock at a profit, Peace’s office said.
Discala and others made more than $6 million in the scheme, and caused more than $12 million in losses to about 800 CodeSmart investors, according to Peace’s office.
In March 2014, Discala and his co-conspirators took Cubed public. After gaining control of Cube’s unrestricted shares, Discala and others were able to control the price and volume of the stock. The stock reached its highest closing price of $6.75 per share on June 23, 2014, resulting in a market capitalization of about $200 million. Investors who bought the publicly traded Cubed stock lost more than $400,000, Peace’s office said.
Discala and another co-conspirator made more than $1 million in illegal private sales of Cubed stock to more than three dozen investors. Discala and others also caused more than $4 million in total losses to about 100 investors, according to Peace’s office.