Influencers Who Promoted Social Media Actions Charged With $100M Fraud Scheme | Science and technology news

Eight social media influencers who allegedly used their status to manipulate share prices have been charged in a $100m (£81m) fraud scheme.

Young had a combined following of 1.5 million on Twitter and used it in conjunction with messaging platform Discord to promote themselves as successful traders and encourage their fans to invest in select stocks.

According to allegations made by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, when the price of those shares rose, they regularly sold them without ever revealing their plans.

It is a process often referred to as “pump and dump”.

Authorities said the group’s loyal followers have been fed “a steady diet of disinformation” since at least January 2020, “which has resulted in fraudulent profits of an estimated $100 million.”

As their fans were duped, the accused showed off their “extravagant lifestyles” online, including posing for photos in luxury cars, authorities said.

Seven of the men were charged with securities fraud and their Twitter credentials were revealed along with their names and residency states:

• Perry Matlock (@PJ_Matlock) of Texas

• Edward Constantin (@MrZackMorris) of Texas

• Thomas Cooperman (@ohheytommy) of California

• Gary Deel (@notoriousalerts) of California

• Mitchell Hennessey (@Hugh_Henne) of New Jersey

• Stefan Hrvatin (@LadeBackk) of Florida

• John Rybarczyk (@Ultra_Calls) of Texas

The men’s tweets regularly encouraged members of the “Goblin Gang” to buy stock, urging followers to reach out to them to “get these levels” and the daily “game plan” sent directly to them.

Most of the accounts are still online and tweeted up until three or four days ago.

Stefan Hrvatin (@LadeBackk) of Florida has been charged with fraud

The eighth man, Daniel Knight (@DipDeity) of Texas, was accused of aiding and abetting the alleged scheme, including via a podcast he co-hosted and used to promote many of the other men as savvy traders.

He is also said to have traded in concert with them and regularly made a profit.

Each could face up to 25 years in prison for conspiracy to commit securities fraud and every count of securities fraud.

Constantin also faces a maximum sentence of 10 years if convicted of engaging in illicit monetary transactions.

Read more:
How the crypto kingpin went from huge empire to indictments

Thomas Cooperman (@ohheytommy) of California has been charged with fraud

It comes amid a US crackdown on high-profile individuals promoting financial products, including cryptocurrency.

Last month, an Instagram star has been jailed in California for more than 11 years for a multi-million pound international scam targeting an English Premier League club.

weeks before, Kim Kardashian was fined and banned from promoting cryptocurrencies for three years to settle federal charges over an Instagram post about the EthereumMax asset.


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