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Spreading the word

The ways in which we light the darkness continues to evolve. From fire, humans developed candles and then incandescent light bulbs. Today, more and more lighting is being done with light-emitting diodes, more commonly referred to as LEDs.

As the world changes its bulbs, LEDs take a bigger and bigger share of the lighting market. Perhaps it isn't strange, then, that a company that claims to sell LEDs could impress investors as one with enormous growth potential.

The Department of Justice says 9 men were recently indicted for defrauding investors interested in getting in on the LED revolution. The group includes registered brokers, traders and promoters who allegedly conspired to commit securities fraud.

The scheme revolved around Forcefield Energy Inc., a publicly traded company that was listed on NASDAQ as "FNRG." Forcefield was touted as a worldwide player in the booming LED marketplace.

The 9 people indicted "took a company with essentially no business operations and little revenue and deceived the market and their clients into believing it was worth hundreds of millions of dollars through a dizzying round of unauthorized trades and deceptive promotions," said a U.S. Attorney in announcing the indictments.

Among those indicted: Herschel Knippa III, better known as “Tres.” Tres Knippa was apparently a promoter of the Forcefield scam. When he appeared on Fox Business's "Varney & Co.," he recommended investing in Forcefield. When asked by Varney if he owned any of the stock, Knippa quipped, “You bet I do. I put my money where my mouth is."

The DOJ says the statement was as false as Forcefield's claims of being a real company involved in worldwide LED distribution.

Many investors caught in these kinds of scams will simply accept that they were duped. Others will, with their attorneys, fight to recoup their investments.

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