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Phony Stock Tipsters Took Millions, SEC Says

BROOKLYN (CN) - The SEC obtained an emergency order freezing the assets of Gryphon Financial and its owner Kenneth Marsh, who allegedly took more than $17.5 million by charging for "phony stock tips and investment advice from fictional trading experts." Marsh and his cronies "even fabricated glowing testimonials from George Soros and purported clients who profited by trading securities the firm recommended," the SEC said in announcing its federal complaint.

Marsh and Gryphon charged as much as $250,000 for tips that they "falsely claim are based on sound research and successful strategies of trading experts with superior knowledge," the SEC said. It "touts trading experts with fake names who boast millions of dollars in trading riches as well as top-notch educational backgrounds and prominent experience at major Wall Street firms."

But its customers "suffered significant losses by trading on those tips or, in at least one instance, by allowing Gryphon to trade on their behalf," the SEC said.

It hardly need be said that Gryphon and Marsh are accused of using the Internet to do this.

Marsh also used the aliases Kenneth Maseka, Michael Warren and Marcus Thorn, according to the SEC complaint.

Also charged are Baldwin Anderson and Robert Anthony Budion, both of Staten Island, Jeanne Lada of Freehold, N.J., and James Levier of Beachwood, N.J.

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