Sopranos star's ex-husband pleads not guilty in stock fraud

Defendants accused of manipulating the stock of four companies, causing investors to lose as much as $50 million

Jul 23, 2014 @ 5:01 pm

By Bloomberg News

An investment firm chief who is the ex-husband of an actress on “The Sopranos,” pleaded not guilty to federal charges that he ran a scheme to manipulate stocks, including those of a startup company advised by former New York Governor David A. Paterson.

Abraxas J. Discala, chief executive officer of OmniView Capital Advisors, and six other individuals including investors, brokers and an attorney were charged in a 10-count indictment by a grand jury unsealed July 17 in federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y. The defendants were accused of manipulating the stock of four companies, including CodeSmart Holdings Inc. (ITEN), causing investors to lose as much as $50 million.

(Related: Broker in alleged penny stock scheme already focus of customer complaints)

Mr. Discala, 43, at one time married to Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who played Meadow Soprano on the HBO television series, was allowed to remain under home detention in Connecticut as part of a $2 million bail package. Mr. Discala's lawyer, Joe Tacopina, disputed terms of the arrangement with prosecutors, saying that his client is still pursuing a “massive deal” and wants to have freedom to meet with technology companies that could include Google Inc. (GOOG) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)

“We thought we had an agreement,” Mr. Tacopina told U.S. Magistrate Judge Joan Azrack Wednesday in court about the bail arrangement.

Mr. Tacopina declined to describe the deal his client was working on after the hearing, saying it wasn't related to the charges in the case. While Mr. Discala wasn't given permission to go to the meetings, he will continue to seek it, Mr. Tacopina said.

MERCHANT BANKING

On its website, OmniView describes itself as a “merchant banking and financial advisory firm” that provides strategic funding to privately owned, middle-market firms to facilitate growth plans, management buyouts, capital restructuring, acquisitions and other deals.

CodeSmart, which provides training for medical coding, had retained OmniView in 2013 to assist with capital and transaction strategy, the company said in a statement.

Mr. Discala faces charges of conspiring to commit securities, wire and mail fraud and wire fraud, according to prosecutors. If convicted, he could be sentenced to more than 30 years in prison, the government said.

CodeSmart announced in March that Mr. Paterson had joined the company's advisory board. Mr. Paterson and Ms. Sigler aren't accused of any wrongdoing in the case.

The case is U.S. v. Discala, 14-cr-00399, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).

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