Rumor: Teen May Be Behind Fake Jobs Heart Attack Story

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  • Add to The US Securities and Exchange Commission may have uncovered the culprit behind a bogus report that sent Apple Computer’s shares plummeting – a teenage child. If the culprit has been identified, the SEC's next moves will depend on whether there was a profit motive, Scott Christie, a partner in law firm McCarter & English, told "If the culprit did not [profit] and it was a malicious prank, the SEC would be less inclined to pursue this," he said. It’s unknown whether the reported suspect uploaded the false story for profit. The stock market and the SEC reacted strongly to the story because Jobs' health has been a subject of close scrutiny, and the company has not formally identified a successor. Jobs had pancreatic cancer some years ago and said he has been cured, although he waited nine months before announcing both his illness and his treatment. More recently, blogs buzzed with reports that Jobs looked pale and ill when he launched the new 3G iPhone at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in June, sparking concerns that the cancer had returned. While Jobs and Apple have made some effort to address those concerns, worries about Jobs' health -- and fears about the impact on the company -- continue to dog the Macintosh, iPod and iPhone manufacturer. The SEC, meanwhile, has become very sensitive to market manipulations via faked news reports or stock-hyping spam, better known as pump-and-dump schemes. Whether or not there was a profit motive, the false report may warrant criminal investigation because "it caused a major swing in the stock of a pretty important company," Christie said.

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