Former Chicago Man, Randy M. Cho, Charged in $8 Million Google/Facebook Stock Fraud

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Former Chicago man, Randy M. Cho, 39, faces federal charges that he swindled people out of millions by posing as a self-employed securities trader with access to special stock sales of high-profile companies such as Facebook and Google.

Randy M. Cho, 39, who lives in Newton, Mass., is charged with fraudulent practice with more than 50 victims who were swindled of about $8 million total, according to information released Monday by the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago.

Prosecutors allege that one of Cho’s schemes was to offer stock in companies as part of what he called a “friends and family” investment pool.

At least one of Cho’s victims, who lived in the Chicago area, gave Cho $20,000 in 2008 after Cho allegedly said he could purchase Google stock for $1 a share.

At that time, Google stock was being publicly traded at $425 a share. during the alleged scheme, Cho falsely told investors that he could purchase specially-discounted shares of companies, including AOL/Time Warner, Inc., Google, Inc., Rosetta Stone, Inc., and Facebook, Inc., prior to their initial public offerings, the charges allege.

Facebook is privately held; it does not trade publicly.

AOL was formerly known as America Online. AOL has operated independently of Time Warner since December 4, 2009.

The government alleges Cho spent money he swindled on cars, home furnishings and jewelry.

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