Does Securities Fraud Matter Anymore?

December 2, 2021

By: Howard A. Fischer

Barron's

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As a former securities fraud prosecutor, I often wonder, based on recent events, whether fraud is needed anymore to pitch worthless stocks.

When I was a senior trial counsel at the Securities and Exchange Commission, my bread-and-butter case was of the company that tried to juice its share price through fictitious statements about its prospects and economic activity. Claims of lucrative contracts, investments and acquisitions, or of new product lines were among the most common ways to get investors excited about the company so that they would purchase shares. In fraud cases, this activity was designed to generate interest so that insiders could leverage their investment or ownership interests and sell at high valuations.