Feeds

SEC: 'Man tried to sell $500bn investments on LinkedIn'

Investors on alert after unregistered broker charged

Business security measures using SSL

US regulators have charged a financial advisor with trying to sell $500bn of fake securities on LinkedIn, amid warnings to investors and advisory firms about the risks of buying through social networks.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) alleges [PDF] that Illinois-based Anthony Fields offered hundreds of billions of dollars in fraudulent securities through a few networking sites, including LinkedIn.

Fields, it is claimed, put bank guarantees and medium-term notes from financial institutions, including Credit Suisse, HSBC, BNP Paribas and RBS among others, up for sale on the sites, adding "if you are interested you can email for particulars".

The securities were, SEC alleges, offered through the firms Anthony Fields & Associates (AFA) and Platinum Securities Brokers, both of which were owned and operated solely by Fields.

Fields – who was at one time registered with the commission as a broker but had allowed his registration to lapse – is also accused of pretending that AFA had $400m worth of assets under management and a $50bn contract to trade US Treasury securities as well as falsely claiming that Platinum was a registered dealer.

SEC has not claimed that the alleged trickster made off with any cash, but said he had received interest from "multiple purported potential buyers".

"Fraudsters are quick to adapt to new technologies to exploit them for unlawful purposes," said Robert Kaplan, co-chief of the commission's enforcement division's asset management unit. "Social media is no exception, and today’s enforcement action reflects our determination to pursue fraudulent activity on new and evolving platforms."

As well as charging Fields, the commission also issued two alerts to the financial world about investment advisory firms' use of networking sites.

The first warned investment advisory firms that are using, or want to use, the likes of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to advertise their services are still subject to federal securities laws, including anti-fraud, compliance and record-keeping provisions.

The second gave tips to investors on avoiding fraud on networking sites, including the time-honoured advice that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.