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E-trade scammer pleads guilty to Office Space scam

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A Californian man who raked in $50,000 after opening thousands of bogus accounts with online brokers, sometimes in the name of cartoon characters, has pleaded guilty to fraud.

Michael Largent, 23, of Plumas Lake, California pleaded guilty to computer fraud and wire fraud charges on Thursday over a scam that ran for six months between November 2007 and May 2008. Largent wrote a script that established an estimated 58,000 online accounts with brokers such as E-trade and Schwab, using false and sometimes fictitious names.

Some of the more noteworthy names used included Hank Hill and Rusty Shackelford, characters from animated series King of the Hill.

The brokerage firms made tiny test deposits into these accounts which Largent pocketed, in the style of similar scams from films such as Superman III and Office Space.

Largent faces up to five years' imprisonment over the scam at a sentencing hearing scheduled for 13 August, Computerworld reports. ®

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