SAN FRANCISCO -- Mouli Cohen, a cofounder of Ecast Inc., has been convicted of 29 counts of a subsequent fraud in which he sold his personal Ecast stock under false pretenses to more than 50 investors.
A jury found that Cohen lied when he claimed that Ecast was on the verge of being acquired by Microsoft in a stock swap deal. The San Francisco digital entertainment company was founded in 1999, and Cohen left the company three years later.
Duped investors, including Danny Glover and others from the actor's nonprofit Vanguard civil rights foundation, put up $30 million between 2002 and 2008 to purchase Ecast shares from Cohen and to pay for supposed “fees” that would ensure government approval of the stock swap.
In addition to hyping the nonexistent deal, Cohen failed to report his income from selling his shares and to pay taxes on the proceeds, the federal jury found after a three-week trial.
As originally reported by VT, Cohen was arrested in August 2011 and pled innocent to all charges. | SEE STORY
He was acquitted of six charges including wire fraud and money laundering. Set for sentencing in February, he could receive up to 20 years in prison. His attorney told the San Francisco Chronicle that Cohen plans to appeal.
The prosecution resulted from an investigation by the FBI and the IRS's criminal investigation division.
Ecast in the past has said the company was another victim of Cohen’s scheme. Its attorneys and executives reported that the firm never received funding from the duped investors or knew about the scheme. They also said it has had no contact with Cohen and knowledge of his activities since his exiting the firm in 2002.