In a press release from the US Department of Justice published yesterday, eight men have been indicted for a $114 million securities fraud scheme orchestrated through social media, including Tom Cooperman, one half of the duo Breathe Carolina.
According to the release, “A federal grand jury in the Southern District of Texas returned an indictment that was unsealed yesterday charging eight men with conspiracy to commit securities fraud for a long-running, social media-based ‘pump and dump’ scheme.”
It continues, “According to court documents, [these men] allegedly engaged in a wide-ranging securities fraud conspiracy in which the defendants used their extensive social media presence on Twitter and Discord to hype interest in particular securities by posting false and misleading information in order to ‘pump’ the prices of those securities, while concealing their intent to later ‘dump’ their shares by selling them at the artificially inflated prices. From in or around January 2020 to in or around April 2022, the defendants profited at least approximately $114 million from their scheme.”
“Financial crimes like securities fraud may not be violent, but they certainly are not victimless,” said Special Agent in Charge James Smith. “The eight individuals arrested today are accused of costing investors, specifically their social media followers who trusted them, millions of dollars by a ‘pump and dump’ market manipulation scheme they allegedly carried out on popular social media platforms. As the lead agency investigating corporate fraud, the FBI was able to uncover their alleged manipulative activity and expose their coordinated pattern of securities fraud.”
The men used their apparent expertise in stocks and trades to allegedly manipulate their followers into buying stocks they were supposedly interested in as they dumped their own shares as the price rose thanks to the inflation.
All defendants are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. Cooperman specifically is charged with two counts of securities fraud. You can read the full indictment here.