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Mother charged with selling fake Facebook stock

Bogus shares also allegedly given out as Christmas presents

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A Wisconsin woman has been charged over claims she tried to sell $1m worth of Facebook shares that she didn't own.

Prosecutors said that Marianne Oleson had told friends that she received the shares because her daughter knew Mark Zuckerberg, and managed to persuade a few different people to take the fake stock off her hands.

Oleson is facing 31 charges in relation to the fake Facebook shares, including theft, forgery and making misleading statements.

Unfortunately, during the investigation, the cops said they also found marijuana growing in her sun room, adding three more drug-related charges to the criminal complaint.

Local news site Fox 11 cited the complaint as alleging that one of Oleson's victims had been a contractor who worked on her house. According to the complaint, when Oleson wasn't able to pay him for his building work, she offered him $18,000 worth of the 'stock' in payment. To add insult to injury, the complaint continued, she also managed to persuade him to give her an additional $10,000 for more of the shares.

"I'm interested in my options and investments so you don't have to work as hard and make it a lot easier money for my kids and family," contractor Randy Stafford said.

But Stafford realised something wasn't right with the documents she gave him, so he went to the police.

The complaint lists four other people who had either bought the fake stock from Oleson, or had received some from her as a gift. The four people listed included her daughter, who allegedly received the shares as a Christmas present.

According to The Northwestern, a newspaper in Oleson's hometown of Oshkosh, she didn't hand over any fake stock certificates, but gave her customers falsified share subscription documents.

She was able to fake these because of an original document she got from Gignesh Movalia, owner of a Florida-based investment management firm that owns 65,000 shares in Facebook, the newspaper said.

Movalia told the cops that Oleson had said she was interested in buying $1m worth of the stock from his firm, so he sent her a copy of a share subscription agreement from his company. She then got back in touch and told him she was no longer interested.

Oleson is due in Winnebago County Court on 9 February for a preliminary hearing. Her bail was set at $50,000. ®

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