The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today charged Michael M. Beck, who uses the Twitter handle @BigMoneyMike6, with deceiving investors into buying penny stocks that he recommended, even though he secretly planned to sell those stocks and, in some cases, was in the process of selling them when he made the recommendations.
The SEC’s complaint alleges that, since at least February 2017, Beck engaged in scalping of eight different penny stocks – recommending a stock without disclosing his intent to sell the stock, and then selling it at inflated prices to generate profits.
According to the complaint, Beck repeatedly purchased blocks of penny stock shares and then tweeted that he would soon be issuing a new stock recommendation to his millions of followers and the public at large. As alleged, Beck’s tweets encouraged readers to join his email group “TeamBillionaire” so that they could receive the recommendation by email.
The complaint further alleges that, a few days before Beck publicly tweeted a recommendation, he typically emailed it to TeamBillionaire members or had third parties post favorable commentary about the stock on investor message boards. As alleged, Beck then typically began to sell his shares, and shares owned by his mother, relief defendant Helen Robinson, before tweeting the recommendation publicly and typically sold additional shares after tweeting positively about the stock.
The complaint alleges that Beck failed to disclose his plans to sell, or his ongoing selling, of shares in any of the tweets, emails, or message board posts, and that he obtained approximately $870,000 in total proceeds from his scalping activities.
The SEC charges Beck with violating the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The complaint seeks permanent injunctions, a civil penalty, and a penny stock bar against Beck, and disgorgement with prejudgment interest against Beck and Robinson.