Online Brokerage Fraud, and the Perils of Fishing in Alaska

The SEC is chock-a-block this morning with interesting litigation releases. Right after the Nortel entertainment, noted in previous post, we have action brought against three Indian cyber-fraudsters who allegedly obtained usernames and passwords for various online brokerage accounts, sold existing securities, and then traded low-volume stocks, including Google put options.

One defrauded account holder came back to a fairly big surprise:

On one occasion, a defrauded account holder departed for a five-day Alaskan fishing trip with a cash and equity balance of $180,000 in his online brokerage account. Upon returning home, his account-which had been victimized by one or more of the Defendants in the interim-had a balance of negative $200,000.

Usually that sort of thing only happens why you buy New Century stock, so that had to have been a puzzle for him or her.