Via our favorite public documents-scrutinizing blog, Footnoted.com, comes this gem: A man in Texas filed a form 4/A–”Changes in Beneficial Ownership”–with the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging ownership of 999 billion shares in Microsoft for $999 billion. The regulatory agency didn’t notice, apparently, that 999 billion is more than 118 times the number of Microsoft shares in existence.
This was one of 69 forms filed by Johnny Earl Satterwhite. Another alleged 999 billion shares in Exxon Mobil. (We looked for more, but the SEC has pulled them.) Apparently, the SEC doesn’t really have many defenses against this kind of fraudulent filing. “There’s really no safeguards to someone doing something like this to manipulate the markets,” said one source quoted by Footnoted; this Wall Street Journal story cites more examples of fake filings. So SEC, you knew Groupon just transferred 999 billion shares of class A common stock to Betabeat, right? Also, 999 trillion shares of LinkedIn? Signing the papers now. What was that form again?