May 23, 2017

More Fake News: Fitbit’s “Unreal” Tender Offer

If you’re a regular reader of “ Blog,” you know that nothing excites me more than when someone fools the SEC’s Edgar & makes a fake filing! A little drool perhaps. Plug the term “fake” into the search box of that blog & you’ll see plenty of fake filings coverage.

The latest involves the filing of a fake Schedule TO-C, making it look like Fitbit was in play (here’s an article from back when that happened). The SEC brought a civil case; the DOJ brought a criminal one. And this dude went through all this trouble – and got into so much trouble – for a measly $3k in profit! Dummy.

Here’s an excerpt from the SEC’s press release:

According to the SEC’s complaint, Robert W. Murray purchased Fitbit call options just minutes before a fake tender offer that he orchestrated was filed on the SEC’s EDGAR system purporting that a company named ABM Capital LTD sought to acquire Fitbit’s outstanding shares at a substantial premium. Fitbit’s stock price temporarily spiked when the tender offer became publicly available on Nov. 10, 2016, and Murray sold all of his options for a profit of approximately $3,100.

The SEC alleges that Murray created an email account under the name of someone he found on the internet, and the email account was used to gain access to the EDGAR system. Murray then allegedly listed that person as the CFO of ABM Capital and used a business address associated with that person in the fake filing. The SEC also alleges that Murray attempted to conceal his identity and actual location at the time of the filing after conducting research into prior SEC cases that highlighted the IP addresses the false filers used to submit forms on EDGAR. According to the SEC’s complaint, it appeared as though the system was being accessed from a different state by using an IP address registered to a company located in Napa, California.

Broc Romanek