Pamela Anderson 'duped into fronting stock scam commercial'
Nikhil Kumar is The Independent's New York correspondent. He was formerly assistant editor on the foreign desk and has also done a variety of jobs on the city desk, where he wrote about markets, commodities and other business and economics topics.
Friday 15 February 2013
Los Angeles police have arrested 14 people for allegedly pulling off a stock manipulation scam that conned 20,000 investors out of more than $30m (£19m) by fraudulently pumping up the share prices with slick marketing campaigns, including one fronted by the actress Pamela Anderson.
The suspects are alleged to have bought shares in publicly traded business then pumped up the share price with “slick market campaigns, slick press releases, payments to stock prompters and cross trading”, which involved buying and selling shares amongst themselves, the California attorney’s office said in a statement.
Then, using their marketing to lure in investors, they are alleged to have dumped the stock onto unsuspecting buyers, thus raking in big profits. One of the stocks in question was reported to be of a company called frogads.com, promoted in a commercial by former Baywatch star. Anderson herself, however, is not suspected of any wrongdoing.
“The defendants’ alleged combination of celebrities, press releases, gimmicks and lies was similar to a how a magician deceives unsuspecting believers into an illusion,” Bill Lewis from the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, said after the arrests were made on Thursday. “While operating the schemes alleged in the indictments, the defendants kept their audience captive until stock prices peaked, while investor money vanished into defendants’ bank accounts.”
Losses are still being tallied and currently stand at more than $30m. But André Birotte, the US Attorney in charge of the case, told the Los Angeles Times that the final figure could top $300m. The 14 people were arrested after authorities unsealed two grand jury indictments following a three-year investigation into the scam using wiretaps to secretly record phone calls and track messages. In one wiretapped phone call, a suspect was recorded saying: “What I do is turn stock into money.”
Sherman Mazur, 63, and his nephew, 40-year-old Ari Kaplan, are alleged to have masterminded one of the scams, which focused on deals involving two businesses. The first, GenMed, purported to manufacture generic pharmaceuticals, while the other, Biostem, claimed to develop regenerative stem cell treatments.
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 5 Cancel Sky at your peril: man spends 96 minutes in chat but fails to get rid of service
Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor are reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
'Jihadi John': Isis executioner Mohammed Emwazi wanted to wage jihad in Somalia until his friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
Parma, Missouri: 80 per cent of town's police quit after first black mayor is elected
Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...
£12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...