BOISE – A former executive of a nuclear power company has pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced Tuesday.

Jennifer Ransom, 40, of Meridian, was the Senior Vice President of Administration of Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc. (AEHI). The company was headquartered in Eagle and planned to build a nuclear power plant in Payette.

Ransom began working for AEHI in late 2007. According to court documents, she deceived investors by artificially trying to inflate the market price of the company's stock, along with co-defendant, Donald L. Gillispie, the former President and CEO of AEHI.

Prosecutors say their scheme involved recruiting people to make stock purchases to inflate the market price of AEHI stock. Ransom helped recruit one of the persons involved in the scheme.

According to court documents, Ransom received one million shares of AEHI stock as executive compensation. She later sold her shares for $675,326, of which approximately $580,780, was proceeds of securities fraud. As part of her plea deal, Ransom agreed to forfeit $580,780, and to pay restitution.

"This defendant personally gained by deceiving investors," said Olson. "Her guilty plea both acknowledges the wrongfulness of her conduct and sends the clear message to others that the U.S. Department of Justice and its investigating partners will take strong actions to identify and prosecute those who manipulate securities markets for personal gain."

The charge of securities fraud is punishable by up to five years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release.

Sentencing for Ransom is set for July 27, 2015 in Boise.

Co-defendant Gillispie was also indicted by a federal grand jury in Nov. 2014 on 14 counts including securities fraud, wire fraud and filing a false tax return. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is scheduled to stand trial in July.