In February 2011, Boise Weekly interviewed Jennifer Ransom, former vice president of Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc., after listening to AEHI's CEO Don Gillispie describe her as "a pretty blonde" in a federal court hearing where prosecutors alleged that the company was a shell for a "pump and dump" scheme.
"Quite frankly, Asians like a pretty blonde face to look at," said Gilliespie. "So it doesn't hurt." Gillispie referred to the numerous trips that he and Ransom had taken together, including to the Far East.
In fact, AEHI attorneys presented Ransom as a secretary with "no day-to-day responsibilities." During the hearing, AEHI attorneys referred to something called Bosco Financial LLC, through which hundreds of thousands of dollars had flowed. Ransom later told BW that "Bosco" was the name of a family dog.
A few months later, Ransom resigned from AEHI, citing "significant health-related issues."
But the 40-year-old Ransom returned to the Boise federal courthouse Tuesday to plead guilty after a grand jury indicted her on securities fraud. According to prosecutors, Ransom and Gillispie artificially increased the market price of AEHI stock. And over time, Ransom received multiple shares of AEHI stock prior to her sale of approximately 1,000,000 shares, receiving $675,326. As part of a plea agreement, Ransom agreed to forfeit $580,780.
The charge of securities fraud is punishable by up to five years in prison. Ransom's sentencing is set for July 27.
Meanwhile, Gillispie continues to fight charges of conspiracy and securities fraud, and is still slated for a federal court trial in July.