An Indian man has pleaded guilty to participating in an international fraud scheme to hack online brokerage accounts in the US and use them to manipulate stock prices to reap thousands of dollars in illegal profits and faces up to 7 years in prison during the April 26 sentencing.
35-year-old Jaisankar Marimuthu, a native of Chennai, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, securities fraud, computer fraud and aggravated identity theft, and to one count of aggravated identity theft before US District Magistrate Judge FA Gossett III in Omaha, Nebraska on February 5.
Marimuthu, who was extradited to the US in June 2009 for trial following his arrest in Hong Kong, faces up to seven years in prison, a maximum fine of USD 500,000 and three years of supervised release following his prison term.
Sentencing has been set for April 26 before US District Court Judge Laurie Smith Camp.
According to the indictment, Marimuthu was part of a conspiracy operated out of Thailand and India between February and December 2006 in which the prices of thinly-traded securities were fraudulently inflated by hacking into brokerage accounts in the US and then illegally using the accounts to make large unauthorised purchases of securities in the name of unsuspecting customers.
After the price of the securities had been artificially increased or "pumped up" through the bogus trading, Marimuthu admitted that the conspirators' own holdings of the securities would be sold at profit.