Thieves raid online accounts in penny stock scam

Friday, 9 March 2007, 12:00 AM EST

Unidentified thieves hacked into dozens of accounts at seven leading online brokerage firms, sold the customers' assets and used the money to buy penny stocks the thieves had previously purchased in an attempt to run up their prices, the Securities and Exchange Commission alleges in a complaint filed Tuesday.

This is the third such case the SEC has filed since late December and by far the largest. The thieves made at least $732,941 in illicit profits and the seven brokerage firms lost more than $2 million attempting to make their customers whole, the SEC says.

At SFGate.

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