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February 3, 2022

Better Markets, Joined by the Consumer Federation of America, Files Amicus Brief Urging Tenth Circuit to Give Investors Claiming Market Manipulation a Chance to Prove Their Case

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 3, 2022
Contact: Evelyn Swan at 202-618-6433 or eswan@bettermarkets.com

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Stephen W. Hall, Legal Director and Securities Specialist for Better Markets, released the following statement after Better Markets and the Consumer Federation of America filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit to reverse a district court’s dismissal of a market manipulation case brought against Overstock.com and several of its principals, In re: Overstock Securities Litigation, No. 21-4126 (10th Cir.):

“Our securities markets have proven to be remarkable engines of business growth and wealth generation, but to thrive, they depend on investor confidence in their fairness and integrity. Market manipulation schemes that artificially distort prices not only harm innocent investors but also undermine that essential confidence, ultimately threatening the vitality of the markets.

“That’s why this case is so important. The plaintiffs are alleging that the defendants perpetrated an outrageous market manipulation scheme that caused Overstock’s share price to shoot up and then fall back to earth—but not before the president of the company pocketed tens of millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains as he prepared to leave the country. The district court in Utah threw the case out based largely on the erroneous notion that to be illegal, market manipulation must involve the use of misrepresentations or other forms of deceit, not just grossly and intentionally distorted prices.

“In our brief, we show that the securities laws and rules were written broadly to cover fraud and manipulation as two separate forms of illegal conduct, driving home the point that manipulation schemes distort share prices and inflict harm on investors regardless of whether they were carried out using lies or deceit. We also highlight the damaging impact that the district court’s decision will have unless it is reversed. These investors will almost certainly be left without any remedy for their losses, and over the long-term, market manipulators will be able to fashion schemes that skirt the law but nevertheless wreak havoc in the markets and among investors.

“Our securities markets are already viewed as unfair and rigged in many ways, and a ruling that immunizes a broad swath of market manipulation schemes is the last thing that investors or the markets really need. That’s why we urged the Tenth Circuit to reverse the district court and allow the claims to be heard.”

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Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies – including many in finance – to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit www.bettermarkets.com.

 

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