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Matt Levine

The FBI Ran an Ultimate Fighting Pump-and-Dump Scam

Any time you are about to say, "let's only talk about this on burner phones," stop and ask yourself: Am I being recorded *right now*? If so, re-evaluate your life choices.

On Friday I laid out a schematic explanation of how to operate a pump and dump scam, because that seemed like news some people could use. At about the same time, the Securities and Exchange Commission was publishing its own handbook of pump-and-dumping, in the form of a civil complaint against five guys involved with a stock called Amogear. (They were also charged criminally.)

The Amogear scheme, according to the SEC, started out brightly: Amogear's controlling shareholder "owned or otherwise controlled all but a few thousand shares of Amogear's purportedly unrestricted stock," which is important if you want to pump and dump without outside interference. He engaged some stock promoters, Gabe Nix and Christopher Putnam, to pump that stock. "Nix was the owner of the GMM, a promotional firm that owned and operated a number of websites that tout penny stocks, and Putnam was a Senior Account Executive at GMM."