The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday announced fraud charges against Irvine, California-based stock trader Andrew L. Fassari for his use of Twitter to spread false statements about now-defunct cannabis company Arcis Resources Corporation (ARCS) to drive up its stock price in a ‘pump-and-dump’ scheme.
The government alleges that Fassari, through his Twitter handle @OCMillionaire, falsely claimed in more than 120 tweets that ARCS was reviving its operations, expanding its business, and had found “huge” investors, according to the complaint. Prior to the allegedly false tweets, the government says Fassari purchased over 41 million shares of the company’s stock which jumped more than 4,000% following his tweets about the company.
The tweets were allegedly made between Dec. 9, 2020 and Dec. 21, 2020 and Fassari is accused of selling all of his shares for more than $929,000 in profits between Dec. 10, 2020 and Dec. 16, 2020. Earlier this month the SEC issued an order suspending trading of ARCS.
The SEC’s complaint charges Fassari with violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws, seeks a permanent injunction, disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and a civil penalty from Fassari. The agency has also frozen his assets.
Fassari’s Twitter profile remains online but no posts have been published since March 8. It describes him as a “Master short squeeze artist” and “pennystock wizard.”
The investigation is ongoing.
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