Stolen Trading Accounts - Option Scam

Discussion in 'Options' started by Wayne Gibbous, Mar 13, 2007.

  1. Keep those accounts secure! Complex passwords! Change them often! Check for keyloggers. Don't fall for phishing attacks! Be safe!

    "...In this particular case, the SEC alleges that the suspects set up their own online accounts at lesser-known brokerages — ChoiceTrade, Firstrade, OptionsXpress and TradeKing — and then amassed shares in thinly traded securities, which are susceptible to wide price fluctuations.

    In the case of Google, a heavily traded company, they acquired shares of a "put option," essentially a 5-cents-per-share bet that Google's share price would plummet 40% within two months. Then the fancy footwork began. According the SEC complaint the Google heist worked like this:

    Several times last October, the suspects intruded into online accounts at Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade and Fidelity Brokerage Services. They sold off the portfolios and used the proceeds to buy Google put options, briefly driving the price up as high as 15 cents per share. They then sold put options acquired earlier for 5 cents per share for double or triple what they paid. Timing had to be perfect. Marimuthu, who was arrested in Hong Kong last December, earned $26,890, while Thirugnanam Ramanathan, arrested in Hong Kong in January, made $1,800. Chockalingam Ramanathan, who's still at large, earned $3,560, the SEC complaint says.

    Working together since last July, the three earned $121,500, though the cost to the affected online brokerages to make victimized account holders whole was much higher: $875,000, the SEC says.

    U.S. authorities plan to seek extradition of the suspects, Stark says.
  2. From earlier in the article:

    "One brokerage account holder who was a victim left for a five-day Alaskan fishing trip with a portfolio worth $180,000 and returned to find the balance at negative $200,000, according to the SEC....

    That'd be a real pisser, huh? Come back from fishing, or Cabo, or whatnot and find yourself $200K in the hole! Yikes! :mad: