15 charged in California stock manipulation scheme

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Authorities say 15 people have been indicted on charges that they took part in a stock manipulation scheme that defrauded more than 20,000 people out of more than $30 million through investments in companies once touted by Pamela Anderson and Eric Roberts.

Among those charged with conspiracy are a former Los Angeles County deputy district attorney and the head of a public relations firm.

A three-year investigation revealed a pump-and-dump scam, where stocks were heavily promoted through slick marketing campaigns and misleading news releases, boosting their prices before they were sold off to reap large profits.

Authorities say Anderson and Roberts aren't suspected of any wrongdoing and they didn't profit from the stock.

Federal prosecutors say those charged carried out several fraudulent deals each year that generated millions of dollars and hid the profits in offshore accounts. If convicted, each of the defendants faces up to 100 years in federal prison.

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