Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Ma Barker of Securities Fraud?

Here's a securities fraud scheme that just caught my eye. Seems that a 63-year-old lady in a Seattle suburb has been indicted, along with her son, on 21 counts of securities fraud and other offenses.

The family and (alleged) Ma Barker aspect of this thing is something that you don't see every day. According to the AP story of the indictment, this was no small time operation:

Beverlee Kamerling, 63, and her son, Nicholas Alexander, 22, allegedly got control of four small companies, caused shares of those companies to be issued unlawfully and promoted the sale of those shares through hyperbolic news releases and unsolicited faxes. . . .

For example, they claimed that the managers of Kamerling's America Asia Energy Corp. -- Alexander and Kamerling's boyfriend -- had experience in coal mining, when in fact they had none, according to the indictment.

Those false claims were made on the Pink Sheets Web site, which publishes information and stock prices about small companies, says the indictment.

Users of the "Pink Sheets Web site" should be forced to read about the virtues of index funds, exchange-traded products, or anything other than pink sheets before being allowed to venture into that sewer.

No, strike that. On second thought, anyone who'd buy a pink sheet stock deserves what he gets.

© 2007 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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