News Tech: The Securities and Exchange Commission announced on Monday that it had filed charges against 18 people and organisations for their alleged involvement in a stock manipulation scheme in which dozens of online retail brokerage accounts were allegedly compromised and improperly used to purchase microcap stocks in order to manipulate their prices and trading volume.
After obtaining those shares, certain defendants then “conspired with other unknown parties to subject various retail brokerage accounts, held by innocent third-party investors, to online account takeover attacks,” according to the complaint.
The SEC alleged in a complaint submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta that hackers gained access to at least 31 U.S. retail brokerage accounts in late 2017 and early 2018, using those accounts to purchase shares of the common stock of two publicly traded microcap companies: Lotus Bio-Technology Development and Good Gaming.
The names of the companies holding the brokerage accounts were not disclosed by the SEC.
“The SEC remains committed to rooting out this type of wrongdoing. Investors should also take precautions, including choosing strong passwords, using different passwords for different accounts, and using two-factor authentication when available,” he said in a statement.
Certain defendants “repeatedly took steps to conceal their beneficial ownership” of LBTD and/or GMER shares throughout the scheme, according to the complaint. This included, among other things, failing to submit to the SEC certain beneficial ownership filings required by law. Rahim Mohamed of Alberta, Canada, who the SEC claimed coordinated the hacking attempts, and a number of other people inside and outside the United States who were either beneficiaries or participants in the conspiracy were among those charged, according to the complaint.
The majority of the LBTD and GMER stock that was sold during the hacking assaults was controlled by Davies Wong of British Columbia, Canada, and Glenn B. Laken of Illinois, respectively. Mohamed worked in conjunction with Wong, Laken, and other individuals to plan the attacks. Richard Tang of British Columbia, Canada, was allegedly associated with both the LBTD and GMER scams, according to the lawsuit.
Two relief defendants who got money from the hacking were named in the SEC’s complaint, which accused the defendants of breaking the antifraud and beneficial ownership reporting rules of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The SEC is asking for the restoration of gains that were obtained illegally as well as interest, fines, bans, and other equitable remedy. It also stated that its inquiry is ongoing.
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