SEC Charges 14-Year-Old With Net Stock Fraud

from the they-just-get-younger-and-younger dept

What does it say about our current stock market when a 14 year old kid can easily manipulate it to the tune of nearly $300,000. All the kid did was buy some stocks and then hype them like crazy on different message boards. What’s scary is how effective he was. The article points to one case where he caused a stock to nearly quadruple. Do people do any real research when investing any more?

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Comments on “SEC Charges 14-Year-Old With Net Stock Fraud”

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Ed Postmodern says:

Two Thoughts...

First, the parents got off easy. His father knew that the 14-year-old had a brokerage account, and let him make unsupervised trades?!? And didn’t notice that he had $300K in the account?!?! It seems like there should be more of a penalty for them.

Second, since this episode points out the complete stupidity and gullibility of people who buy stocks based on completely unsubstantiated posts they read on www message boards, I wonder whether it would be legal and/or ethical to capitalize on this — if, through some data mining you thought you discovered a pattern of somebody perpetrating a pump-and-dump scheme, could you place orders to take advantage of it? It seems wrong, but why? In theory, you’re acting on the same information that’s available to anyone else. Just to be clear: you’re not the one putting out the misinformation; you’re detecting it (you think).

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Two Thoughts...

That’s a really interesting idea… I would say that it’s definitely legal. You haven’t done anything wrong. However, it may make the SEC very suspicious and you may get a visit as they’ll assume you must have had something to do with the pump-and-dump scheme. While technically the burden may be on them to prove you’re connected, in reality, some assumption might be made that could get you in trouble. My second thought is that while this one kid was successful, I don’t know how successful those schemes are on average. I’d think the effectiveness of them go down over time (and may already be much lower than they were a year ago).

You’d probably be better off using the same scheme to blackmail the fraudster. 🙂

Ed Postmodern says:

Re: Re: Re: Two Thoughts...

Oops — didn’t mean to submit so fast.

The trouble with my scheme is that it would be too hard to take advantage of it. Assuming that the fraud is detectable (which is not a trivial assumption), the simple way would be to sell short when a stock jumps as a result of a pump-and-dump, but it’s virtually impossible to short a thinly-traded penny stock. Alternatively, one could buy up some shares as soon as a scammer’s post is detected (hopefully before the run-up starts), but that’s risky.

The best way to profit from this would be to sell subscriptions to a scam alert newsletter, I guess.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Two Thoughts...

Yes, well, the blackmail comment was a joke, but you knew that. Anyway, what perpetrator of stock fraud do you know who would report you were blackmailing him?

“Hi, FBI? I’ve created this great stock fraud where I’d be raking in the bucks, but this asshole is blackmailing me. Can you get him for me. Thanks. Most appreciated.”

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