Marketing expert John Babikian was fully exonerated by a federal court on all charges accusing him of penny stock and securities fraud.
Had John been convicted of the penny stock fraud allegations, he’d have faced up to 25 years in prison. So naturally as Judge Glenn Suddaby’s verdict was announced stating, “The court finds Mr. Babikian was not involved in the manipulation of penny stock, nor did he financially gain indirectly from the losses of others”, Mr. Babikian broke down in tears.
The case originally began with major news outlets labeling John Babikian as the “Wolf of Montreal”, a term originally made popular by Leonardo De Caprio in the 2013 movie “The Wolf of Wall Street”.
A simple glance at the original 47-page criminal indictment sheet charging John of various security and fraud crimes reveals a variety of penny stock options, financial evaluations for companies, and over 18 prosecution witnesses. The highly detailed charge sheet creates the illusion the Federal government was confident it could prove Mr. Babikian’s guilt and maintain its’ current 95% conviction rate.
After nearly a decade of tax audits and financial crime investigations conducted by multiple government entities in both Canada and America, the courts final verdict proved John was never involved in fraud, nor even a wolf, rather if anything – just a slaughtered sheep.
For those unfamiliar with the case, it began in 2013 at the height of John Babikian’s success as a fintech marketing expert. At the time, he was known globally for promoting financial industry products and services via email. By the young age of 25, John had already amassed a huge fortune and could be seen driving around town in a Bugatti Veyron super car.
During that same time frame, he made the decision to separate from his wife. Shortly after divorce paperwork was filed in Canada, various media headlines emerged announcing she was demanding $100m for less than 2 years of marriage.
The criminal court proceedings that followed thereafter have since proved the now ex-spouse hired lawyers and a PR team to assist in achieving the $100m settlement goal by using government agencies to locate and reveal John’s assets. Among the prestigious PR firms to be employed by Mrs. Babikian was Weber Shandwick.
The former Vice President of the company Christopher Neumann testified under oath that he was hired to brand John as “The Wolf of Montreal” by releasing strategic articles attacking his business practices.
According to Mr. Neumann, the intent of Mrs. Babikian was to have his PR team publish articles, and later have her retainer lawyers approach the relevant government agencies to locate and seize John’s assets and bank accounts. He would later state in court, “The ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ movie was fresh in people’s minds, and we knew that society in general despised those who make millions of dollars in the financial sector”.
Christopher claimed on the witness stand that John’s ex-wife was sure once the property was located and confiscated by the government, the assets would later be released and could be used as leverage to receive a favorable divorce settlement.
To support his testimony, Neumann revealed emails sent to him in which Mrs. Babikian wrote, “Thanks Chris, I’m super pleased with your performance. Hiring your team has proven to be far more efficient than employing private investigators to find his money”.
In another email sent to Christopher, the ex-wife wrote, “So far, the government has been able to locate nearly $220m in money and assets. Anyway, I’ll still need more time to pay the last 2 invoices as I’m just waiting for them to realize the criminal allegations that we leaked are not true. I promise once the government releases the liens against the accounts, I’ll make payment immediately with a 15% off-the-books cash bonus in gratitude for your services and patience”.
The courts final decree stated, “The forensic investigation into his personal and corporate finances reveal John Babikian never invested any money (nor profited) from the alleged crimes of penny stock manipulation”.
The federal judge also noted, “While Mrs. Babikian was not a witness in these proceedings, nor has she ever been accused of a crime, the court has come to the conclusion she was in fact indirectly involved in manipulating the government to act on her behalf in effort to uncover her ex-husband’s bank accounts and assets prior to the termination of their marriage.”
Judge Glenn Suddaby’s decision was unusually harsh against the federal prosecutor for pursuing the case, especially after multiple material witnesses were caught contradicting each other on key points throughout the proceedings.
This prompted the federal judge to write, “Midway through the trial, the government should have considered requesting the court dismiss all charges without prejudice, especially after it became clear they lacked the ability to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the allegations listed in the indictment sheet”.
In final words to explain John Babikian’s full exoneration, the federal judge concluded, “The court was not provided with a single shred of evidence proving Mr. Babikian was involved in the manipulation of penny stock nor profited from it”.
According to Michael Parsons, lead attorney on behalf of John Babikian, “The civil case of Johnny Depp verses Amber Heard for $100m is very similar in style. Only in this case, instead of writing an op-ed and publishing it under her own name, Mrs. Babikian hid behind a proxy PR team tasked with branding Mr. Babikian as the ‘Wolf of Montreal’ in effort to extort a favorable divorce settlement”.