Feeds

Men busted 'for touting Facebook and Twitter shares'

Groupon, Bloom Energy etc: These guys owned it all

Top three mobile application threats

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has closed down an investment scam that was touting pre-IPO shares in Facebook, Twitter, Zynga and Groupon.

The SEC alleges that Florida resident John Mattera and others set up a new hedge fund named The Praetorian Global Fund. The Commission alleged that the suspects had claimed to potential investors that they, and other entities, had tens of millions of dollars worth of shares in the tech firms before their initial public offering.

Mattera and his partners Brad Van Siclen, David Howard, Joseph Almazon and John Arnold, allegedly encouraged the investors to part with their cash to be put into an escrow fund to purchase the shares when the time came, and the SEC said they had managed to bag $12m from investors all over the US in the last 15 months.

According to the SEC, none of the individuals ever had any shares in the companies, which also included firms like Bloom Energy and Fisker Auto. The money that was supposed to be going into escrow was actually just going into the personal accounts of Mattera and Arnold, the SEC said.

The Commission asserted that after Arnold had taken his cut, Mattera then grabbed the rest of the dosh to "afford his lavish personal expenses" and to pay the rest of the gang.

“By conjuring up a seemingly prestigious hedge fund and touting the safety of an escrow agent, these men exploited investors’ desire to get an inside track on a wave of hyped future IPOs,” George Canellos, director of the SEC’s New York office, said in a canned statement.

“Even as investors believed their funds were sitting safely in escrow accounts, Mattera plundered those accounts to bankroll a lifestyle of private jets, luxury cars, and fine art.”

The US attorney's office for the southern district of New York, which was carrying on a parallel investigation, has now filed criminal charges against Mattera and arrested him.

The SEC is now looking for the courts to freeze the assets of all five men and eight different corporate entities listed in the complaint (PDF).

Apparently, it's not the first time some of these guys have been involved in white-collar crime. Mattera has been in trouble with the SEC before and been "the subject of several state criminal actions", while Howard was charged by the commission earlier this year for his part in a boiler room operation (a busy and slick telephone operation to sell questionable goods or go the whole hog and do some outright stock fraud). ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo: Turn your phone into a 72GB beast
USB-usiness in the front, micro-USB party in the back
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed
Nadella's database sqares the circle of cheap memory vs speed
BOFH: Oh DO tell us what you think. *CLICK*
$%%&amp Oh dear, we've been cut *CLICK* Well hello *CLICK* You're breaking up...
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
Amazon reveals its Google-killing 'R3' server instances
A mega-memory instance that never forgets
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.