SEC Charges Four Long Island Men with Perpetrating $2 Million “Free-Riding” Scheme

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced fraud charges against Eduardo Hernandez, Christopher Flagg, Daquan Lloyd, and Corey Ortiz, all currently or formerly of Long Island, New York, for perpetrating a multi-year “free-riding” scheme that generated more than $2 million in illicit profits.

The SEC alleges that, from approximately November 2018 through January 2022, the defendants opened brokerage accounts (the victim accounts) that provided the defendants an instant deposit credit once the defendants initiated a transfer of funds to those accounts from related bank accounts, but before the fund transfer was completed. The complaint alleges that, during this short window of time between initiating the transfer and when the bank funds reached the victim accounts, the defendants took advantage of the instant deposit credit feature to purchase illiquid securities from other brokerage accounts that they controlled, for prices at which no rational investor would have purchased them, thereby generating profits in the other brokerage accounts. Later, usually on the same day, the defendants caused those other brokerage accounts to repurchase the same securities from the victim accounts at or near the much lower market price, thereby closing out the positions and leaving the victim accounts with trading losses close to the amount of the instant deposit credits extended to the victim accounts. The defendants then allegedly directed that the victim accounts be abandoned, never actually funding those accounts from the bank accounts. The complaint alleges that, through this scheme in which the defendants controlled both sides of the transactions, they were able to generate guaranteed profits at the victim accounts’ brokerage firm’s expense. All told, during the relevant period, defendants allegedly conducted the fraudulent scheme through at least 600 brokerage accounts.

Source: SEC Charges Four Long Island Men with Perpetrating $2 Million “Free-Riding” Scheme