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E*Trade files suit over online impersonator

Turns up heat on anonymous message board postings

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E*Trade has filed a suit in the US after postings on a Yahoo! message board by someone they claim was posing as the company's CEO.

The messages, such as: "I made a killin on my stock options!", were posted by "christos-cotsakos" and "christos-m-cotsakos" last October. The same person added that he was "sorry" investors lost cash through their shares.

E*Trade's share price dropped around 75 per cent last year from its high last March.

It has not been revealed who made the postings, but E*Trade says it was definitely not its own company chief Christos Cotsakos, the Wall Street Journal reports. It has got its legal eagles on the case and has filed a suit in a California superior court against various unidentified defendants.

The company reckons that pseudonyms were used to "mislead the public" into believing Cotsakos posted the messages. And all this was done in a bid to lower E*Trade's share price, according to the WSJ.

There were "numerous other postings using obscene language regarding (the company) and their investors and customers, all the while impersonating E*Trade Group's CEO," the complaint adds.

The suit also claims messages were posted under the name "jerrygramaglia" - E*Trade president and COO.

Experts believe around 150 such lawsuits have been filed regarding anonymous message posters. ®

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