New York Dock Workers Use Facebook, Twitter to Pull Off $7 Million Stock Fraud
As Reuters reports, federal prosecutors have charged 11 suspects, including one New York Harbor longshoreman, with orchestrating a $7 million online stock scam. In a statement (PDF) issued yesterday, Manhattan's U.S. Attorney's office claimed that the scam artists used 15 different websites, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds to "defraud the investing public into purchasing stocks that were being manipulated by participants in the conspiracy."
According to prosecutors, the suspects used their Web presence to tout four $.01 stocks, which they claimed were winning investments based on their own expertise and independent research. Court documents claim that the suspects earned $3 million off of their 'pump and dump' scheme, while victims lost a grand total of $7 million. Prosecutors reportedly discovered the fraud while conducting a two-year drug trafficking investigation at the Port of New York, where eight longshoremen and three others allegedly trafficked 1.3 tons of cocaine, worth $34 million.
If convicted, the fraud suspects face up to 20 years in federal prison -- giving Hollywood more than enough time to put together an inevitably ill-fated remake of 'On the Waterfront.'