, Salem, MA

February 27, 2013

Former Beverly executive heading to prison for fraud

By Julie Manganis
Staff writer

---- — BEVERLY — The former chief financial officer for a Beverly business that sells personal and contact information to businesses was sentenced to five years in prison Monday during a hearing in U.S. District Court.

James Fields, 45, of Brookline was one of two top executives at LocatePlus Holdings Corp. who were charged by prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office with a series of fraudulent schemes intended to, among other things, jack up the company’s stock price by creating fictitious customers and bogus contracts.

The company’s former chief executive officer, Jon Latorella, was sentenced to five years in prison last June, after pleading guilty.

Fields, meanwhile, went to trial, where a U.S. District Court jury found him guilty last November of conspiracy, securities fraud, making false statements to company auditors and the Securities and Exchange Commission, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering.

Federal prosecutors say the two men, over the course of several years, engaged in a variety of activities to boost the company’s stock price.

Among those schemes: The two set up a fake business called Andover Secure Resources, using the identity of a deceased Marblehead man, and then created a fake loan from LocatePlus, which was being repaid by Andover at a “favorable” interest rate, prosecutors said.

The two also allegedly came up with another fake business named Omni Data Services, which they purported to be a large customer paying LocatePlus millions of dollars.

The pair also lied to the SEC and other regulators about selling investments in a business called Paradigm Tactical Products, using the personal information of former friends, a girlfriend and two other deceased men, prosecutors said.

Judge Douglas Woodlock, who presided over the Fields trial, also sentenced Fields to three years of probation to follow his prison term.