Man Pleads Guilty to Selling $11 Million Worth of Fake Facebook, Groupon Shares

He's facing at least 10 years in prison for three criminal charges

By on October 3rd, 2012 09:21 GMT

Facebook shares were so hot at one point that people bought them even if they weren't real. One Florida man, John Mattera, pleaded guilty to several charges for selling non-existent shares in Facebook, Groupon and other companies.

This was way before Facebook's IPO, last year, so he was selling shares for a nonpublic company.

Still, that didn't throw off people sending money his way, he raised some $11 million, EUR8.51 million through his Praetorian Global Fund.

Investors believed they were buying shares in those companies, but the money went directly to the man's bank accounts and were used to pay for his lavish lifestyle and luxury items including a Lamborghini.

The man pleaded guilty to conspiracy, securities fraud and wire fraud and tried to plead guilty to money laundering, though the judge hasn't decided whether he'll accept the last mentioned. He's facing 10 to 12 years or more for the three counts.

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