Michael Pickens, the son of legendary billionaire Boone Pickens, pleaded guilty to securities fraud on Monday and agreed to a sentence that could be four years and nine months at a minimum or a maximum of five years and 11 months.
Pickens sent hundreds of thousands of phony faxes across the country, each looking like a handwritten note with a hot stock tip on it. The idea was to convince people receiving the faxes that they were privy to a secret way to get rich quick, and apparently the scheme did work to some extent.
One of the companies Pickens promoted was Seattle-based Infinium Labs, a video game company that has since changed its name to Phantom Entertainment. The SEC has charged Infinium's chairman, Timothy Roberts, for authorizing the fraud and for making a $422,500 profit by selling his shares as the stock price increased.
The SEC estimated that Roberts paid Pickens $200,000 in cash and gave him 4 million shares of his own stock. That case is still ongoing in Florida, where Roberts lives.