A California man pleaded guilty yesterday in connection with a scheme to defraud investors in a publicly traded company’s securities and manipulate the company’s stock price.
According to court documents, Jason Nielsen, 55, of Scotts Valley, was a large shareholder of Arrayit, a publicly traded medical device company based in California. From approximately 2019 through April 2020, Nielsen engaged in an unlawful “scalping” and “spoofing” scheme to manipulate the price of Arrayit securities. Nielsen used online message boards to publicly post false and misleading information about the nature of his trading in Arrayit securities, in order to induce others to purchase Arrayit securities and thereby drive up the stock’s price, a practice known as “scalping.”
Nielsen admitted that he placed orders to buy Arrayit stock that he intended to cancel before execution. The purpose of these orders was to deceive the public and Arrayit shareholders by signaling demand for Arrayit securities which did not exist. This allowed Nielsen to sell his shares at artificially inflated prices, a practice known as “spoofing.” While engaged in these practices, Nielsen was secretly selling his own previously acquired shares at an artificially inflated price.