A Wisconsin woman has been charged with theft over accusations she tried to profit from Facebook’s much-anticipated plans to go public by selling fake stock in the social media giant.
Facebook announced on Wednesday its plans for the biggest-ever Internet IPO.
In a criminal complaint on Thursday, prosecutors said Marianne Oleson told acquaintances she obtained $1 million in stock because her daughter was an acquaintance of Facebook’s founder and persuaded several people to buy fictitious Facebook stock over a four-month period.
The Oshkosh woman was charged with 31 counts of theft, forgery and making misleading statements.
One of Oleson’s victims was a contractor who did work at her house in September. Oleson paid the contractor for the work with $13,980 worth of fake Facebook stock, the complaint alleged.
The contractor, who also paid $10,000 in cash to the woman for additional stock, grew suspicious when he found she lied about her name and various oddities on documents referring to the transaction.
Oleson, 46, was also accused of defrauding a 66-year-old Oshkosh man who was suffering from a vision impairment. According to the district attorney, the man gave Oleson four checks totaling about $43,000 late last year to pay for Facebook stock.
The woman promised him she would send stock certificates in the mail. Oleson is also accused of selling fake Facebook stock to two other men for a total of $9,900.
What each of her four victims say they did receive was a document describing the private stock offering — a document Oleson had received when she contacted OM Investment Management LLC, a legitimate owner of 65,000 shares of private Facebook stock, about purchasing $1 million worth of stock from the company. She allegedly took the share subscription agreement they sent, changed a few words and offered it to her victims as proof of her good faith.
If convicted, she will not only miss the legitimate Facebook IPO, but will also face 218 years, 30 days in prison and $418,000 in fines. Her bond is set at $50,000, and she is due back in court next week.
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Other Sources: newsfeed.time.com