Daniel Laikin, 48, of Indianapolis, IN, and Los Angeles, CA, the CEO of National Lampoon, Inc. (“National Lampoon”), was sentenced Friday to 45 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to manipulate the company’s stock price from March through June 2008, according to an FBI report.
Laikin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud in September 2009. National Lampoon is a California-based company involved primarily in media projects, including feature films, television programming, online and interactive entertainment, home video, and book publishing.
Laikin paid illegal kickbacks to a number of individuals to generate buying in National Lampoon stock that was not based on free market forces. This was designed to make it appear as if there was significant investment interest in the stock when, in fact, there was not.
Laikin also provided non-public information to his co-conspirators, including information regarding the company’s unannounced financial results. He also coordinated press releases to provide a pretext for the increased buying.
Laikin’s goal was to induce real buying from the public and artificially increase the price of the stock so that he could use the inflated stock to defraud potential business partners. Once the scheme became public, National Lampoon was removed from the American Stock Exchange, causing the company’s share price to plummet.
As part of his plea, Laikin acknowledged that he intended to cause between $2.5 million and $7 million in losses through the scheme.
In addition to the 45-month prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Joel H. Slomsky ordered Laikin to pay a fine in the amount of $100,000 and serve three years of supervised release, with the special condition that he is prohibited from serving as an officer or director of a publicly traded company.
Laikin also faces separate civil charges from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.