The US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) has stepped up its investigations into an alleged $12 million manipulation of the stock market using the Internet.
The SEC amended a complaint, filed in November, which accused SGA Goldstar, the publisher of an Internet stocks and shares newsletter, of making a series of upbeat company forecasts about a video teleconferencing supplier, Systems of Excellence, to inflate the market.
The Commission had alleged that SGA Goldstar personnel were bribed with stock in Systems of Excellence to recommend the company, and that they had deliberately inflated the market for such stock in order to dump it on other investors as the price rose.
In a revision petition revealed on Thursday the SEC now claims that the SGA Goldstar personnel "engaged in a systematic practice of publishing promotional coverage for other issues in exchange for compensation" and failed to disclose the level or nature of that compensation.
Last month a Federal Judge froze the assets of Systems of Excellence?s chief executive Charles Huttoe, when he was accused of manipulating the market by issuing favourable press releases about the company. He is also accused of distributing millions of shares in the company to his family and other corporations in which he had an interest. The alleged scam is estimated to have resulted in $12 million of illegal profits.
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