K C Smith, 20, of Kentucky is accused of using the Security and Exchanges Commission’s own logo to add authenticity to two web sites, purporting to offer high return, low risk investment.
The SEC alleged that between May 2002 and February 2003, Smith sent nine million spam emails, offering double-digit monthly returns on investments.
The offer came from the fictitious Kyrer Financial investment firm, and was insured by the also fictitious United States Deposit Insurance Corporation. It was on the USDIC that Smith used the SEC’s official seal, to add authenticity to his offers.
The SEC complaint against Smith alleges that the $102,554 raised was not invested but used to pay for his personal lifestyle.
Smith is also accused of having used stolen mobile phones and internet accounts to contact the victims, and of using online payment methods that maintain payee confidentiality to help mask his identity.
He has so far agreed to pay the SEC $107,510 in ‘disgorgement and pre-judgement interest’, without admitting or denying the allegations, the regulator said.
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