SEC freezes assets of Estonian firm implicated in hi-tech pump and dump fraud

SEC freezes assets of Estonian firm implicated in hi-tech pump and dump fraud

The Securities and Exchange Commission has obtained an emergency asset freeze against an Estonian-based corporation accused of hi-jacking online brokerage accounts to conduct a hi-tech pump and dump scam.

The Commission charged Grand Logistic, a Belize corporation located in Tallinn, Estonia, and its owner, Evgeny Gashichev, a citizen of Russia, with conducting a scheme to artifically inflate the price of stocks by using funds looted from online brokerage accounts.

The Commission alleges that, between August and October, Grand Logistic and Gashichev made $353,609 in unlawful profits by conducting at least 25 separate manipulations, involving the securities of at least 21 companies.

The temporary restraining order granted by the courts freezes the defendants' assets and orders the repatriation of funds taken out of the United States.

Daniel Hawke, district administrator of the Commission's Philadelphia District Office, sates: "Recently, the SEC has become aware of a dramatic increase in the number of intrusions into online brokerage accounts. We have been working closely with other regulators and brokerage firms in an effort to ensure that online brokerage trading is safe and secure."

Online brokerage E*Trade reported in October that the online pump and dump frauds had cost it $18 million in losses in the third quarter alone. TD Ameritrade has also been hit by the scams but specific details of losses have not been disclosed.

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