Two Dana Point men were indicted in a so-called pump-and-dump stock scheme that netted the two $6 million, prosecutors said.
Gregory Turville Harry, 46, and Daniel Sifford, 68, were indicted on four counts of securities fraud and three counts of mail fraud, the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles said.
The men, who are accused of boosting the stock of two shell corporations and selling their shares for artificially high prices, face as many as 200 years in prison if convicted.
Prosecutors said Harry and Sifford issued millions of shares to themselves in two companies, Austin Chalk Oil & Gas Ltd. and Amtex Oil & Gas Inc. They are accused of making false statements to investors, including claims that Amtex investors could make a 500% return.
Neither Harry nor Sifford could be reached immediately for comment.