The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged two New Jersey-based traders with manipulating more than 2,000 NYSE- and NASDAQ-traded stocks and reaping more than $26 million in profits from their successful trades.
The SEC alleges that Joseph Taub and Elazar Shmalo utilized dozens of accounts at various brokerage firms to carry out their scheme undetected, typically using two at a time to engage in a flurry of manipulative trading activity that usually lasted less than five minutes. According to the SEC’s complaint, they would use one account to buy a position in a stock, and then use a second account to place a series of small buy orders to walk up the price for the first account to sell its larger position into the market at an artificially high price for significant profits. In some instances before the first account purchased its position in a stock, they had the second account place a series of smaller sell orders to drive down the price of the stock, allowing the first account to buy its larger position in that stock at the artificially lowered price.
“As alleged in our complaint, Taub and Shmalo schemed dozens of times per trading day to artificially move stock prices for their personal benefit,” said Andrew M. Calamari, Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office.
In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey today announced criminal charges against Taub and Shmalo.
The SEC’s complaint filed in federal court in Newark, N.J., charges Taub and Shmalo with violating and aiding and abetting violations of the antifraud provisions of the securities laws. The complaint seeks a permanent injunction as well as the return of ill-gotten gains plus interest and penalties.
The SEC’s continuing investigation is being conducted by Michael Ellis, Janna Berke, and Wendy Tepperman in the New York office. Assisting the investigation are Artur Minkin, Jonathan Hershaff, and Scott Walster in the SEC’s Division of Economic and Risk Analysis and Jim Flynn in the New York office. The litigation will be led by Jack Kaufman, Ms. Berke, and Mr. Ellis, and the case is being supervised by Lara Shalov Mehraban. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.