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RUMSON MAN SENTENCED FOR MARKET CRIMES

A Rumson commodities trader who owned and managed a Red Bank firm was sentenced to three years in federal prison last month for market manipulation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Friday.

Michael Coscia, owner of Panther Energy Trading, was convicted in Chicago last November in the first-ever federal prosecution for “spoofing” under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the FBI said.

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RBR STUDENTS PROTEST RESPONSE TO PRAYER

rbr protest 050916 2According to one account, hall monitor Joel Gray, below, was placed on administrative leave after engaging Jazmin Graham, center above, in prayer. She said she had sought Gray’s counsel. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Joel Gray 3For the second school day in a row, Red Bank Regional students staged a demonstration Monday afternoon to protest the school’s purported suspension of an aide for engaging students in prayer.

To date, there’s been no official confirmation of any type of action against 32-year-old hall monitor Joel Gray. Tom Pagano, the interim superintendent at the Little Silver school, declined to discuss Gray’s status with redbankgreen late Friday, citing the privacy of personnel matters. Gray himself has not returned phone messages.

But as they had on Friday, more than a dozen students, placards in hand, stood at the corner of Harding Road and Ridge Road Monday shortly after dismissal, chanting their support for a school employee they say has been mistreated by the administration. Read More »

RED BANK FIRM SMACKED FOR TRICKERY

A Rumson commodities trader and his Red Bank firm have been slapped with nearly $6 million in fines and paybacks orders by United States and British regulators for an alleged scheme to manipulate prices for oil, agricultural products and more, according to various media reports Monday.

According to a report by Bloomberg News carried on the Star-Ledger website, NJ.com, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission charged Michael Coscia and his firm, Panther Energy Trading, with market ‘spoofing,’ in which bids and offers in futures contracts for crude oil, metals and other commodities were made anD quickly withdrawn to create the illusion of market demand.

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RED BANK DEFENDER AVOIDS DISBARMENT

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Public Defender Kevin Wigenton was censured by the New Jersey Supreme Court Monday, ending a decade-old disciplinary case that might have resulted in his disbarment as a lawyer.

The court ruled 5-1 that shoddy bookkeeping by Wigenton in his solo practice hadn’t harmed any clients or third parties, rejecting a call by the Office of Attorney Ethics that he be disbarred.

One justice, Judge Dorothea Wefing, who is on temporary assignment to the court from the appellate division, dissented. She wrote that “a short period of suspension” was required “in order to preserve public confidence in the bar.”

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PUBLIC DEFENDER FACES DISBARMENT

just_in1By JOHN T. WARD

On a typical Thursday in Red Bank’s municipal court, Public Defender Kevin Wigenton may juggle dozens of cases, crafting pleas on behalf of clients he’s met just moments before.

But his toughest case ever may be one he had almost a decade to prepare for, and in which he’s the defendant.

On Wednesday afternoon, Wigenton went before the state Supreme Court to ask that he not be disbarred for shoddy bookkeeping discovered in his solo practice in 2002.

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