SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

November 20, 2012

Former CFO of Beverly firm guilty in securities fraud

BEVERLY — A former executive of a Beverly information broker business was convicted yesterday of conspiracy, money laundering, securities fraud, aggravated identity theft and other charges by a federal jury, the U.S. attorney’s office announced.

James C. Fields, 45, who now lives in Boston, was the former acting chief financial officer and later chief executive officer at LocatePlus, a firm in Beverly’s Cummings Center that provided background data on individuals for a fee.

He and a second executive, former LocatePlus CEO Jon Latorella, were charged with a series of schemes to artificially inflate the firm’s value to investors, including creating fictitious “clients” with names like Andover Secure Resources and Omni Data Services; filing fraudulent paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission to avoid detection of a third fake entity, Paradigm Tactical Products; and the use of the identity of a young Marblehead man who was killed in 1985 to create a fictitious “president” of one of the phony firms and an “investor” in another.

The man whose identity they used, Timothy Rodden, drowned off Marblehead in 1985.

One fictitious business was purportedly repaying a loan, another had been described to investors as a new client, and the third was set up to further their scheme, prosecutors said in a press release.

The various schemes started around 2003 and continued until 2009, when they were uncovered. The pair were indicted in 2010.

Latorella, of Marblehead, pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Fields opted for a trial before U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Woodlock, which concluded yesterday with a guilty finding by the jury.

The charges carry a potential penalty of decades in prison.

Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 14.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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