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Stock fraudsters used stolen brokering accounts

Antony Savvas

Three Indian nationals are being prosecuted in the US for a share price scam using stolen brokerage accounts.

The prosecution claims the men bought their own stock and used stolen share-dealing accounts to buy more shares in the same stock.

This led to the price of the stock going up so the mens' share value was boosted.

Thirugnanam Ramanathan, an Indian national, has been jailed for two years and ordered to pay £180,000 in restitution for his part in the scam.

Thirugnanam Ramanthan was arrested in Hong Kong and extradited to the US in May 2007. In July this year, Ramanathan pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, securities fraud, computer fraud and aggravated identity theft.

In January 2007, Ramanthan was indicted by a federal grand jury with his brother Chockalingam Ramanathan and Jaisankar Marimuthu, also Indian nationals.

Jaisankar Marimuthu and Chockalingham Ramanathan were charged with one count of conspiracy, eight counts of computer fraud, six counts of wire fraud, two counts of securities fraud and six counts of aggravated identity theft.

Marimuthu is detained in Hong Kong following his conviction on similar offences on the Hong Kong stock market. Chockalingam Ramanathan is on the run.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission said all three men participated in a fraudulent scheme to manipulate the prices of at least fourteen securities. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said they did this through the unauthorised use of other people's online brokerage accounts.

The defendants sold the positions held in their own accounts at artificially inflated prices, netting unlawful trading profits of at least £60,000, said the SEC.

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