Michael O’Brien Pickens, son of Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens, pled guilty to charges of securities fraud today.
The son of a billionaire, Pickens was manipulating stock prices of stocks by faxing fake stock picks to thousands of people in the hopes that they would buy shares of the companies featured in the "misdirected" missives.
Pickens faces fines of up to $1,000,000 and 20 years in prison when he’s sentenced in January.
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A sample of the fax:
"I have a stock for you that will tripple [sic] in price just like the last stock I gave you ‘SIRI’ did. Can’t get you on either phone. Either call me, or call Linda to place the new trade. We need to buy IFLB now."
The faxes allegedly caused shares of Data Evolution, Infinium Labs and Soleil Film to trade more heavily and at higher prices than they should have. The indictment says that Pickens made at least $386,000 from the scheme.
The ruse was reportedly discovered when the fax service Pickens was using sent one of the fraudulent faxes to an SEC office in California.
Pickens pled guilty in Manhattan federal court to three felony counts of securities fraud.
Pickens’ father T. Boone has a reported net worth of $1.5 billion.