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7 Charged In Anthrax Stock Scam

The government has accused seven people of scheming to boost the stock of a company called 2DoTrade Inc. by making false claims that the company had a product to kill anthrax.

The Justice Department, in an indictment unsealed Tuesday, alleged that the company manipulated the market for 2DoTrade stock through claims that it had more than $300 million in commodities contracts.

An indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia charges the seven defendants with conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud.

2DoTrade was registered in Nevada, with headquarters in London and White Rock, British Columbia, the Justice Department said.

According to the indictment, the defendants fraudulently pumped up the price and volume of 2DoTrade stock through misleading promotional campaigns, including false claims that the company had contracts for various goods and commodities worth more than $300 million. The contracts were bogus and were never executed, the Justice Department said.

Later, in a renewed effort to fraudulently raise the company's flagging stock price, the conspirators allegedly exploited the publicity generated by the October 2001 anthrax attacks by claiming it had an anti-anthrax product.

The defendants are Barry Gewin, 36, of Enon Valley, Pa.; Michael Karsch, 43, an attorney from Boca Raton, Fla.; Dominic Roelandt of Dehderhoutem, Belgium; George Taylor, 63, of Ayrshire, Scotland; L. Van Stillman, 55, an attorney from Delray Beach, Fla.; and David Wood, 51, and Clinton Walker, 35, of Charlotte, N.C.