It’s rare for a federal district court judge to toss a jury verdict, and rarer still for that to happen in the conservative Eastern District of Virginia. So we took note when we learned that Judge Anthony Trenga had overturned a verdict in a criminal fraud case involving two promotional seminar speakers who sold a program that claimed to teach people how to trade stocks.

David Gengler and Linda Woolf, both of Utah, were independent contractors hired by the Whitney Informational Network to speak at three-day “Teach Me To Trade” conferences. Gengler and Woolf received commissions for selling courses that ranged in price from $3,000 to $40,000. Following a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of the company, federal prosecutors brought suit against Gengler and Woolf, alleging they lied about their success in trading stocks in company-produced infomercials and at seminars, and also misrepresented the likelihood of success for customers who purchased the “Teach Me To Trade” product. On May 7, following a four-week trial, the defendants were found guilty of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and having committed wire fraud by a federal jury.

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