Before we can get into this particular penny stock scam, it would be wise to define the penny stock scam for the uninitiated. It's a pile-in, financial porn pump and dump. These particular crooks decided to take to Twitter and Facebook to get new fish to buy into their easy to fill 2x1 matrix. Since Twitter is inundated with all level of bizarre MLM bots and pyramid scheme tweet spam, it's easy to see how an effective a tool it can be in perpetuating financial fraud.
The Manhattan DA's office says 11 of the 22 participants used Twitter feeds and websites to lure "investors" (read the fine print, people) to buy a bunch of cheap stocks they'd artificially inflated. They made off with $3 million and "investors" lost $7 million.
I use the word "investor" loosely. If you're getting your stock picks from some spammy Twitterfeed that isn't even run by a human being (or solely from one who is, so far you aren't required to register with the SEC to talk about stocks on Twitter) maybe you had it coming. So far we haven't seen the offending tweets, if you know where to find them let me know.
Penny stock scams are not limited to Twitter and even former SEC lawyers have been convicted of using them to take advantage of gullible "investors." Like this guy, who brought civil cases against white collar criminals for 15 years in Fort Worth and ended up getting 8 years in federal prison for his pump and dump activities. It's unclear if he used social media in his crimes but if he came from the SEC, chances are he's more into porn than Twitter.
Filed under: doing it wrong
Facebook & Twitter used in stock fraud: U.S. prosecutor [Reuters]