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Judge fines stock picker $1.7 million

December 13, 2007|From Bloomberg News

A federal judge has ordered the Los Angeles-based founder of an Internet stock-picking service to pay $1.7 million after the Securities and Exchange Commission said he secretly sold shares touted on his website.

Nicholas Czuczko, who operated thestockster.com, falsely portrayed the site's penny stock picks as unbiased and underplayed the likelihood that he and associates would trade in the shares, Judge Otis Wright in Los Angeles said in an order dated Dec. 5.

Czuczko, who didn't contest the SEC allegations filed last year, must forfeit almost $1.6 million in profit, plus interest, and pay a $100,000 fine, according to the order.

James Sanders, a Los Angeles attorney listed as Czuczko's lawyer in court records, didn't return a call seeking comment.

The website still operates but calls itself "new and improved."

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