SEC charges 8 social media influencers for $100M pump-and-dump stock scheme

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission filed parallel lawsuits against eight social media influencers, alleging they engaged in a pump-and-dump stock manipulation scheme that fleeced their followers out of $100 million.

The SEC announced fraud charges on Wednesday against seven self-proclaimed “FinTwit” financial gurus on Twitter: Perry Matlock a/k/a “PJ Matlock;” Edward Constantin a/k/a “Edward Constantinescu” and “MrZackMorris;” Thomas Cooperman a/k/a “Tommy Coops;” Gary Deel a/k/a “Mystic Mac;” Mitchell Hennessey a/k/a “Hugh Henne;” Stefan Hrvatin a/k/a “LadeBackk;” and John Rybarcyzk a/k/a “Ultra Calls,” a/k/a “The Stock Sniper.”

The agency said the influencers violated securities laws by secretly dumping exchange-traded stocks that they had earlier promoted to their followers on Twitter and Discord.

Another defendant named in the SEC’s action, podcaster Daniel Knight a/k/a “Deity of Dips,” was charged with aiding and abetting the alleged scheme. Knight, the co-host of a popular podcast, used the program to promote many of his co-defendants and profited off of their alleged fraud, the agency said.

“These seven defendants allegedly purchased certain stocks and then encouraged their substantial social media following to buy those selected stocks by posting price targets or indicating they were buying, holding, or adding to their stock positions,” the agency said in a press release. “When share…

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