SEC renews push to ban Erie businessman –

Thomas Parilla, whose company traded in penny stocks, is accused of fueling a ‘pump-and-dump’ scheme by issuing false news releases related to the legal marijuana industry.

Ed Palattella @ETNPalattella

The federal Securities and Exchange Commission is renewing its effort to ban an Erie businessman from trading on the penny-stock market.

The SEC is claiming Thomas J. Parilla, CEO and sole employee of the now-defunct Fortitude Group Inc., used a “pump-and-dump” scheme to artificially boost the value of Fortitude’s penny stock by making false claims that the Erie-based company had entered the legal marijuana market in Colorado three years ago.

The SEC sued Parilla and Fortitude in U.S. District Court in Erie in February 2016, though the proceedings against Parilla have stalled as he has represented himself and tried to get the case dismissed.

The SEC had a notice of default filed against Parilla on March 3 because he failed to follow legal guidelines in responding to the claims. Parilla on March 24 responded with a handwritten motion asking U.S. Magistrate Susan Paradise Baxter to lift the notice of default and

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