Actress masterminds a scheme to manipulate stock by creating false and convincing news
Kamilla Bjorlin, an actress who’s starred with the likes of Anthony Hopkins and Al Pacino, played an “evil serpent” on soap opera Days of Our Lives and played a countess in The Princess Diaries 2, is being charged with fraud.
Professionally known as Milla Bjorn, in a recent interview the actress expressed that acting “is the passion of my life.”
However, during her pursuit in acting she was masterminding a scheme behind the scenes. She allegedly paid writers, most of whom used pseudonyms, to produce a multitude of positive articles and buzz on social media. All in order to boost stock prices for specific companies.
One such case was the spike in the stock prices of Galena Biopharma, which saw an increase after Bjorlin’s form Lidingo Holdings, pushed the interest by providing content via reputable online outlets.
A lot of the exchanges are decided by computer algorithms which monitor price changes and news on social media and online outlets. The split second the computer decides if it’s a good choice, doesn’t allow for seasoned brokers to spot the con.
A recent similar case was one against the Scottish trader Michael McCarthy, owner of the Florida based company DreamTeam. They promise coverage to an “extensive online social network” and have been able to drastically effect company stocks just by spreading false news.
There’s an increase of a modernized version of the old “pump and drop” scheme.
SEC are filing charges against dozens of companies and individuals including Bjorlin. “There are so many ways that people can reach investors now, we want people to be critical,” said Melissa Hodgman, associate director of the SEC’s enforcement division. “Even if it appears to be an independent site, we want people to take a breath and do some research. We can’t always rely on what something looks like on its face.”
A recent study by JPMorgan Chase, estimates that only 10% of trades are picked by human brokers. “The majority of equity investors today don’t buy or sell stocks based on stock-specific fundamentals,” the report said. “Big Data strategies are increasingly challenging traditional fundamental investing and will be a catalyst for changes in the years to come.”
“There is absolutely pump-and-dump in social-media mentions for penny stocks. That’s why we don’t cover them,” said Social Market Analytics CEO Joe Gits.
Unlike other parties involved in the SEC investigation, Bjorlin is preparing to fight the lawsuit. In an email to the Washington Post she said, “No matter what story you publish, it won’t be the truth. There is an iceberg beneath the surface, that no one is paying attention to. I was targeted.”
She says she planning on writing a book to clear her reputation.