Kittery Point man indicted after New Hampshire port officials allege stock scam

Posted June 09, 2013, at 9:23 a.m.
Last modified June 09, 2013, at 7:54 p.m.

Brentwood, NH — A Maine man is free on $5,000 personal recognizance bail in a theft and forgery case that the Rockingham County attorney said cost the director of the Port of New Hampshire and his chief operating officer a combined $50,000 by selling them stock in a company that doesn’t exist.

John Rummler, 64, of Kittery Point was indicted by a Rockingham County grand jury in May on two charges of theft by deception and two charges of forgery, alleging that he sold 1,000 shares in a company called Wastech International to New Hampshire Director of Ports and Harbors Geno Marconi for $10,000 in 2005 and around the same time sold 1,200 shares in the same company to Port Operations Manager Alan Cummings for $40,000.

Rummler was booked at the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office on May 31 and entered a not guilty plea in Rockingham County Superior Court, Brentwood.

The state Bureau of Securities Regulation is also investigating the case, but would not comment other than to confirm that Rummler is not licensed to sell securities in New Hampshire.

In 2004-05, Marconi and Cummings bought stock at vastly different prices in a company that may not exist, authorities said. They did not alert authorities until recently. Reached by phone, Marconi declined comment. Cummings did not return messages.

The theft by deception indictments state that some time between September and November 2004, Rummler persuaded Cummings to buy Wastech International shares, and a year later, between September and November 2005, persuaded Marconi to buy some as well, at significantly lower prices.

Later in 2005, the forgery indictments allege, Rummler provided the two men with what he said were certificates issued by Wastech International.

There is a company called Wastech Controls and Engineering in California, but it is not publicly traded and has nothing to do with the case, according to management.

A Web search for Wastech International turns up address information and phone numbers that appear to be bogus. The number on the Wastech International Web page rings at a biotech firm in Portsmouth, where management said it has no knowledge of the company. None of the major stock exchanges provides a listing for a Wastech International.

The investigation began when Marconi and Cummings showed up at the Portsmouth Police Department earlier this year to report a crime, according to detective Sgt. Dave Keaveny. “It was initiated by two people who came in saying they had purchased what they believed were valid stock certificates, and after a few years of trying to cash them in, they realized they were bogus,” he said.

He declined to comment further, referring all questions to the county attorney.

The indictments in the case note that the prosecution is occurring within a year after the discovery of the alleged crimes, not within a year of their occurrence.

The police turned over the case to the Bureau of Securities Regulation, which in addition to conducting its own investigation turned over the matter for criminal prosecution.

Eric Forcier, staff attorney for the Bureau of Securities Regulation in Concord, confirmed that Rummler was still under investigation at the bureau and that he was not licensed to sell securities in New Hampshire.

“We have a pending investigation of John Rummler, and the criminal authorities in the Seacoast have indicted him in a separate investigation,” Forcier said. “We have a mechanism to share information.”

Rummler has a history of tax problems, with Maine state tax liens on record as far back as 1994, including liens of $21,914 in 2010; $26,896 in 2007; and $4,573 in 2007, according to court reports.

He was cited in 2007 in a criminal tax case in Maine and was scheduled to appear in York County Superior Court for a hearing on failure to make restitution payments as part of probation. Because he paid the full restitution of $15,000 prior to the hearing, “no additional incarceration was ordered,” according to court records.

Marconi, who last year earned nearly $100,000 as state director of Ports and Harbors, reports to the Pease Development Authority, which presides over the Pease Tradeport, the airport and the state’s ports and harbors. He’s held the position since July 2002, according to Irv Canner, director of finance at the PDA.

Cummings came on two months after Marconi, in October 2002, and earned a little more than $70,000 last year.

PDA Executive Director Dave Mullen and board member Peter Loughlin, who chairs the Port Committee on the PDA, said they are confident that Wastech, if it exists, did not do business with the port, and they are not concerned about any potential conflict of interest for Marconi or Cummings.

“I’ve never heard of the port doing any business with Wastech,” said Loughlin. “In fact, I don’t even know what they do. I’ve never seen that name on any contract.”

The Wastech Web page says the company, which gives a Portsmouth address, provides water supply and irrigation systems, but the senior PDA officials said they have never heard of it. Portsmouth Harbor Master Dick Gordon said he has never heard of the company either.

“Geno made an investment, and whether it turned out good or bad or whatever, it had nothing to do with his job as director of the port,” said Loughlin. “[The Port Committee] met two weeks ago, and it didn’t come up. I can’t imagine it would be a concern.”

A structuring conference for a possible trial in the Rummler case has been scheduled for July 10 at Rockingham County Superior Court. Rummler is being represented by attorney Timothy Harrington, who was unavailable for comment.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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