The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged a Californian trader for allegedly using Twitter to hype up stocks before dumping them for a profit.
The charges, unsealed on Monday and filed in federal court in the Central District of California on March 2, accuses Andrew Fassari of fraud through the spread of “false and misleading” information.
SEC has also obtained an emergency asset freeze and other emergency relief.
According to SEC, Fassari, under the Twitter handle @OCMillionaire, used the microblogging platform to allegedly spread false tips relating to the stock of a company, Arcis Resources Corporation (ARCS).
The Twitter handle is followed by roughly 13,000 users and was active as of March 8, 2021.
SEC’s complaint says that on December 9, Fassari began purchasing over 41 million shares in the Nevada company before touting the stock on Twitter.
Among the claims, documented in over 120 messages referencing $ARCS, was the expansion of operations, a CEO that had “big plans” for the company, exciting news was on its way, and the idea that investment could be a “life-changer.”
The US regulator alleges that while the share price rocketed by over 4000%, Fassari then sold his stake and secured profits of over $929,000.
On December 19, Fassari posted a screenshot to Twitter claiming that he had sold for a massive loss. The message read:
“$ARCS / Sold for a huge loss. I don’t care what anyone says about me. I back up what I say. I take my losses like a man. I don’t blame anyone for this. Everyone received the emails and saw their Twitter. This was either [a] calculated pump or a CEO who did things in the wrong order.”
However, some Twitter followers have questioned the authenticity of the trading screenshot.
On March 2, SEC issued a temporary