US DOJ accuses social-media influencers over US$114m securities fraud

A single offense of conspiracy to conduct securities fraud is brought against each defendant. Additionally, Constantin is charged with three charges of securities fraud and one count of participating in monetary transactions on property generated from identified illicit activity.The DOJ claimed that the defendants held themselves out as expert stock traders by posting pictures of their profits and opulent lifestyles and encouraging people to follow them on social media to share their financial gains. The defendants allegedly used their social media credentials to maximize their own profits at the expense of their followers.

Each of Matlock and Deel faces five charges of securities fraud. Rybarczyk is accused of security fraud on four counts.

Moreover, Cooperman, Hrvatin and Hennessey all are charged with two counts of securities fraud. Additionally, it is claimed that the defendants spread false and deceptive information regarding stocks they pumped and dumped as part of the alleged conspiracy using Atlas Trading Discord.

On Wednesday, the defendants appeared in court for the first time. Each defendant faces a potential 25-year sentence if found guilty of the conspiracy to conduct securities fraud and each alleged crime.

Eight individuals are accused of conspiring to commit securities fraud in connection with a long-running “pump and dump” scam. The scam was based on social media by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of Texas. The indictment was returned and unveiled on Wednesday.


DOJ claimed that men were allegedly involved in a massive securities fraud conspiracy

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) said on its website on Wednesday that the men were allegedly involved in a massive securities fraud conspiracy. The conspiracy in which the defendants used their extensive social media presence on Twitter and Discord to hype interest in specific securities. They did it by posting false and misleading information to “pump” the prices of those securities while hiding their intent to later “dump” their shares by selling them at the inflated price.

It said the defendants made at least US$114 million from their plan between January 2020 and April 2022. According to the indictment, the defendants are accused of spreading false and deceptive information about the securities that they pumped and dumped as part of the criminal conspiracy to their cumulative 1.5 million Twitter followers.

In addition to their Twitter presence, the defendants also allegedly ran an online community for individual stock traders called Atlas Trading, which the defendants promoted as one of the largest, free online communities in the world for individual stock traders and had a chatroom called Atlas Trading Discord.