Apple Inc. shareholders looking for an SEC enforcement action against the person who spread a false story that Apple CEO Steve Jobs had suffered a heart attack— which briefly knocked nearly $5 billion off of the company’s market cap when the stock promptly dove 5%— may have to settle for something else: perhaps a stern talking-to from the perpetrator’s parents?
Bloomberg reports that investigators have determined that the hoaxster is a 18-year-old who does not appear to have tried to profit from driving down the stock.
K&L Gates partner Michael Missal is quoted in the article as saying that any SEC manipulation case would probably hinge on the writer’s intentions. “If the posting wasn’t directly related to the purchase or sale of a security it’s questionable the SEC would have jurisdiction,” he said. “That’s not to say some other agency of the U.S. government couldn’t take action if it felt a law was violated.”