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A US man is being sued for allegedly posting a misleading financial information on Yahoo's! Finance bulletin board last October.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) alleged that 24-year-old Kentucky man Ned Sneiderman posted a false press release which claimed that broadband outfit Extreme Networks was buying IT firm Viasource.

The posting helped double Viasource's stock price although both companies moved quickly to deny that the press release was genuine.

The SEC claims Mr Sneiderman bought Viasource stock immediately before posting the fake statement but was unable to cash in on the rise since shares in both companies were suspended.

Helane Morrison, head of the SEC's San Francisco District office, said the "case shows how, in just a few minutes, someone sitting at a computer terminal can cause substantial market disruption", Reuters reports.

A few mostly US companies have been subject to crude but successful attempts to ramp up prices with the release of false press releases on the Net. These include Pairgain and Emulex.

In March 2000, The UK's Financial Services Authority (FSA) issued a number of warning to investors warning them to be on their guard about share tips published on bulletin boards.

Phillip Thorpe, then MD of the FSA, said: "Following such tips blindly can seriously damage your wealth. So the simple message is do not believe everything you read." ®

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