Facebook and Twitter used in stock scam
Facebook and Twitter were used to tout stocks in a classic “pump and dump” fraud of about $7 million that was uncovered during a cocaine-trafficking probe.
Investigators discovered the fraud in a two-year probe of suspected trafficking of 1.3 tons of cocaine worth $34 million through the Port of New York and New Jersey, officials said.
A statement by the Manhattan US Attorney’s office said 11 out of 22 people charged used more than 15 websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds to “defraud the investing public into purchasing stocks that were being manipulated by participants in the conspiracy.”
Eight longshoremen and three others face narcotics trafficking charges. Eleven people, including one longshoreman, face charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in the purported stocks scheme. They face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Documents filed in Manhattan federal court said the 11 were from New York, Florida and Pennsylvania. They are accused of orchestrating website links that touted picks in four penny stocks said to be based on the authors’ expertise and independent research.
None of the stocks were identified in court documents, which said more than $3 million was accrued in illegal gains by the accused and that shareholder losses amounted to more than $7 million.
Both Twitter and Facebook declined to comment on the fraud.