The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) yesterday sued a 17 year-old US citizen who used the name of a Bloomberg journalist to post a phony news story on a number of websites.
Benjamin Snyder, of Georgia, stole the name of Bloomberg financial writer John Rega in an attempt to boost the sales of a drug company he had invested in called Viragen International.
Snyder alleged in the article that Viragen had won a US government contract to develop a treatment for Anthrax, called Vivox, and that investors could expect to see a "potential goldmine".
He then posted the article from a public library on 13 May, after he had purchased a stack of Viragen shares. With shares falling in price, he posted the story again on 15 May, but to no avail.
The SEC chose not to fine Snyder and instead issued him with a cease-and-desist order, preventing him from a repeat performance.
The SEC described his conduct as "outrageous" and promised to come down hard on future offenders.
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