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SEC suspends trading in 35 spam stocks

Great news!

     
4:37 pm on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Washington, D.C., March 8, 2007 - The Securities and Exchange Commission this morning suspended trading in the securities of 35 companies that have been the subject of recent and repeated spam email campaigns. The trading suspensions - the most ever aimed at spammed companies - were ordered because of questions regarding the adequacy and accuracy of information about the companies.

The trading suspensions are part of a stepped-up SEC effort - code named "Operation Spamalot" - to protect investors from potentially fraudulent spam email hyping small company stocks with phrases like, "Ready to Explode," "Ride the Bull," and "Fast Money." It's estimated that 100 million of these spam messages are sent every week, triggering dramatic spikes in share price and trading volume before the spamming stops and investors lose their money."

[sec.gov...]

[edited by: engine at 5:04 pm (utc) on Mar. 8, 2007]
[edit reason] added link, thanks bobothecat [/edit]

4:46 pm on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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This is great news but I wonder why it took them so long?
4:53 pm on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Here's a link to the full release:

[sec.gov...]

4:59 pm on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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The trading suspensions will last for ten business days. The trading suspensions commenced today at 9:30 a.m., EDT, and terminate at 11:59 p.m., EDT, on March 21, 2007.

Its short lived.

5:12 pm on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Most of the 35 will never trade again, even after the 10 business days.

The flip side is that scammers will claim the emails came from "naked shorters" who only want to drive down fledgling entrepreneurs. Thats what took this so long.

No one in politics wants to be seen as Anti-business, never mind that most of the 35 are probably 100% frauds.

6:14 pm on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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This is definitely excellent news! For many months I have been forwarding stock SPAM to the address listed on [sec.gov...] wondering if it would ever do any good. Apparently, it has.
6:20 pm on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Am I missing something or are they actually punishing the victims?
Did these companies ask the spammers to try to manipulate their stock?

It's almost like if someone was DoSsing your website, but instead of hunting down the person doing it, they take your website offline to "protect you".

6:41 pm on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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And how long until one company gets a competitor delisted by a cheap spam campaign in their name?

Still don't understand, why after all these years, a known technology of verifying that an email was sent by the sending domain hasn't taken place. While it won't "solve" spam, it will take an enormous bite out of it.

6:48 pm on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Am I missing something or are they actually punishing the victims?

Why do you think the companies are being punished? If their stock doesn't trade for 10 business days- so what? The only time a company "needs" to have their stock trading is if the company is actively selling or buying its stock. Most of the day-to-day trading is between investors.
7:00 pm on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'm very familiar with this. The emails may emanate from a spammer (Investment Relations Professional :) hired by the company or most often from a third party who has a block of otherwise utterly illiquid stock to pump and dump.

The company itself almost always denies knowing about the spam beforehand. My guess is the spammer must at least touch base with the company. He wouldn't want to buy a huge block of stock at the same time the stock releases bad news. I'm sure there are often secret kickback arrangements run thru offshore banks and the like.

------------

Three months later the subject of the spam will change its name, do a reverse split, get a new stock symbol, issue far more shares, and go into a new line of business...whatever is hot at that moment.

The cycle can go on for years.

7:02 pm on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Although I'm very thankful that the SEC is doing something about this (if for no other reason than to end this form of spam), I don't really see that there are many truly innocent investors who become victims. Rather I suspect it is lots of individual investors who are "playing along" with the scam in hopes of making a "killing" themselves.

Then again there are some really stupid people out there who are really gullible.

7:04 pm on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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If their stock doesn't trade for 10 business days- so what?

Under new SEC regs for the stock to trade after the 10 days, a Market Maker must vouch for the honesty of the company. That is hard to obtain.

(have to run or I'd go more into this subject)

7:33 pm on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Whats also interesting is looking back through my spam e-mails for the last month I notice that the stocks listed in the release are not the ones currently being pumped.

I did not see CBRP, CBRJ or NNCP.

Seems to me that the SEC is moving so slow that by the time they suspend trading, the pump and dumpers have moved on. Then again, I'm not surprised that the SEC is late coming to the party.

8:36 pm on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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The beginning of a response from the SEC will start to make the spammers nervous. Now they can't count on being able to sell, responses could become swift, and there's the chance that the trail will be followed backwards for suspicious patterns. Not the easy sure money it's been.
11:08 pm on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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It won't make them nervous at all.

The pump and dumpers are out long before the SEC can react. The only people that won't be able to sell are the victims.

1:43 am on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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>>I did not see CBRP, CBRJ or NNCP.

Or MPRC, VCDT and others...

3:23 am on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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The only people that won't be able to sell are the victims.

SEC has little sympathy for penny stock victims. Many have gambling addictions. And many buyers know the stocks are scams and try to hitch a ride on the scam.

If people make money in one penny stock, they're sure to lose it on the next or the one after that. It's futile to help these people get restitution. (and the money usually is in some offshore bank within hours)

With most reputable stock brokers one really has to work to buy these junk stocks. Warnings pop up when online orders are attempted.

SEC is getting involved now for two reasons: 1) email spam which has shined light on this sleazy corner of the stock market; 2) the use of such stocks to launder money or make money for some very scary offshore types.

7:56 am on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Yahoo, thank God.
11:56 am on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I am sure the SEC is investigating further and will find out the investors who are responsible. When they do, I would expect the SEC to arrest them and they would get fined and possibly even jailed.
2:12 pm on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Yahoo, thank God.

What has this got to do with Yahoo? ;)

Actually no one could have told the spammers about this. I just counted and I have had 14 of these already today!

Edit: Make that 17!

[edited by: BeeDeeDubbleU at 2:13 pm (utc) on Mar. 9, 2007]

3:16 pm on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I've seen a huge reduction in penny stock emails the past two days. Haven't received one yet today.

These things do tend to go in spurts. The style of the emails indicates they originate from a small number of sources which are almost certainly outside the US.

4:47 pm on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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When they do, I would expect the SEC to arrest them and they would get fined and possibly even jailed.

Unfortunately, the SEC is very limited in its jurisdiction and what it can do. Although they can certainly work with other agencies that have more teeth, even then it's debatable whether any agency really has the teeth to do anything at this point.

The SPAMMERs want people to buy the stocks they are promoting. Suspending trading (if done in a timely manner) is one way to at least slow them down. It also puts the SPAMMERs on alert that the stock is being watched and anyone dumping a lot of those shares will (should, anyway) be red flagged for further investigation.

5:02 pm on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I've seen a huge reduction in penny stock emails the past two days. Haven't received one yet today.

If anything I am seeing an increase. I have now had about thirty or more today. :(

8:02 am on Mar 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Another few days have elapsed and I am still seeing as many as ever. This does not seem to have had any effect. Is everyone still getting these?
12:04 pm on Mar 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, I received a big slug of them yesterday and the day before. Emails were for new stocks.
11:13 pm on Mar 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I have been recieving these stock pumping spam emails for months. I still can't believe anybody would buy stock based on spam...