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This Day In Market History: SEC Goes After Mafia-Linked Stock Manipulators

Elizabeth Balboa

Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that happened on this date.

What Happened

On this day 18 years ago, The Securities and Exchange Commission announced a major crackdown on Mafia affiliates alleged to have conspired with bankers, brokers and money managers to manipulate stocks.

Where Was The Market

The S&P 500 closed at $1,470.54 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average $10,687.95.

What Else Was Going On In The World

A day earlier, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and South Korean President Kim Dae Jung met for the first ever Inter-Korea summit. The Los Angeles Lakers were on their way to beat the Indiana Pacers in the NBA Finals.

Regulators Weed Out The Mafia

The SEC sued 63 individuals and the U.S. Attorney’s Office indicted 120 defendants connected to securities fraud in 19 microcap companies and the private placement of securities of 16 microcap companies.

Eleven of the indicted were members or associates of five different organized crime families.

The mafia allegedly used extortion, threats and intimidation to manipulate Wall Street insiders; “infiltrated and gained control” of brokerage firms; bribed brokers to control stock supply and paid commissions for their sales; and ran a union pension fund fraud and kickback scheme.

Inspired by its findings, the SEC effected several amendments to rules and regulations protecting the microcap market.

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