CARLSBAD, Calif. — A Carlsbad man suspected of using his brokerage account and the accounts of several other individuals in a pump-and-dump fraud scheme that generated over $7 million in illicit proceeds has been arrested and charged, prosecutors said.

Joseph A. Padilla, 53, was charged on suspicion of one count of securities fraud, facing up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $5 million, the United States Attorney’s Office District of Massachusetts stated on its website Monday. He was arrested Thursday at the San Diego International Airport and made an initial appearance Friday in federal court in the Southern District of California.

Between February and April 2021, Padilla is accused of orchestrating the fraudulent inflation of Charlestowne Premium Beverages Inc. (FPWM), a thinly-traded microcap company, and then facilitating the sale of millions of FPWM’s shares at pumped-up prices to unsuspecting investors in Massachusetts and throughout the U.S., according to the charging document.

Padilla, a one-time stockbroker, was barred from the securities industry in 2012 by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the attorney’s office said. 

He will appear in Boston court at a later date.