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Teen Settles Latest Fraud Claims by SEC

June 06, 2002|From Bloomberg News

A Mission Viejo teenager, in his second securities-fraud case, turned over $93,731 to settle charges he manipulated stocks with false chat board messages, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Wednesday.

Cole Bartiromo, a 17-year-old high school student, surrendered $91,000 in gains plus interest made by driving up stock prices of 15 publicly traded firms in a "pump and dump scheme," the SEC said.

Bartiromo previously turned over more than $1 million he raised from some 1,000 investors with promises of guaranteed returns in sports betting touted on an Internet bulletin board named "Invest Better 2001," the SEC said.

"Cole just wants to get this thing over with and get on with his life," said his attorney, David Bayless of Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco. Bayless said Bartiromo agreed to settle the pump-and-dump charges, without admitting or denying guilt, before the case was filed in federal court April 29.

The SEC alleged Bartiromo posted more than 6,000 false messages on Internet chat boards last year to drive up share prices and sell his holdings at a profit. The stocks included F2 Broadcast Network Inc. and Call Solutions Inc., both most recently trading for less than 1 cent a share.

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