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Did A Chicago-Area Artist Just Buy $88 Million In Bank Of America Stock?

In the latest apparent spoof on a U.S. securities regulator's online filing system, a Chicago-area artist with a fondness for inspirational quotes claimed to have acquired about $88 billion worth of Bank of America Corp shares on Wednesday.

The filing did not appear to influence the stock price of the second-largest U.S. bank, which joins companies including Avon Products Inc, Integrated Device Technology Inc and Berkshire Hathaway Inc to have had fake filings attached to their ticker symbols on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's Edgar system.

While the SEC did not respond to a request for comment and Bank of America declined to comment, securities experts said there was no doubt the filing was a hoax.

In it, a company called YNOFACE Holdings, purportedly run by Antonio Lee said it had acquired 798.4 million Bank of America shares in an exchange on Aug. 15, and purchased another 4.2 billion common shares and 100 million preferred shares on Sept. 22.

The common shares alone would represent nearly half the bank's total market cap. Bank of America's largest shareholder, The Vanguard Group, has roughly 610 million shares, a stake of less than 6 percent.

In an earlier filing, YNOFACE said it had implausibly raised over $1 trillion for an art fund.

A YouTube account characterizes YNOFACE as a company that "acquires, markets, and holds original art as a capital appreciation investment based off the fundamental metrics."

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Offering Explanation, 2014.

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Lee's Twitter account, which hasn't been updated since 2014, showcase colorful paintings of a beach, elephants in love and a naked person with a bird's head. His avatar is question mark over a blank face.

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Reuters' attempts to reach Lee were unsuccessful.

While Bank of America appeared unscathed by the apparent scam, past phony filings have had real world consequences. Last year, Avon shares soared 20 percent on a filing about a fake takeover bid. The alleged fraudster was arrested earlier this year.

The SEC's vulnerability to phony filings has attracted the attention of Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, who wrote to the regulator last year to express his concern.

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Links, embed and editing by Beachwood.

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See also: Lee's "Our Legacy."

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From Lee's Facebook page:

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on October 20, 2016


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