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From Russia With Securities Fraud

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Can you feel the excitement in the air? Eight milligrams of fun being injected into the bloodstream? The smell of contraband vodka on my breath? In case you hadn’t yet heard, Ruskie criminals are back, my friends, with a vengeance. And this time they’re taking to the internets.

Customers of Merrill Lynch, E*Trade and other major online brokerage firms are being targeted by a ring of Eastern European cybercriminals, federal law enforcement officials tell ABC News.
The Securities and Exchange Commission said today it has moved against the ring which they believe illegally accessed trading accounts at seven top firms from computers in Russia, Latvia, Lithuania and the British Virgin Islands.
Using illegally-obtained passwords and user logins, the crooks allegedly accessed dozens of trading accounts at such major online brokerages as E*Trade, Schwab, TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, Scott Trade, Vanguard and Merrill Lynch, according to the SEC complaint. After inflating the stocks' values, the criminals sold off their holdings, leaving their victims with next to nothing.

Obviously this is the next step in the evolution of boiler room brokerages. Instead of pushing pump-and-dump penny-stocks over the phone or in emails, these guys just went right ahead and bought the stocks for their victims. Value added!
Feds Move Against Online Trading Criminals [The Blotter]