LITIGATION RELEASE NO. 16363 / November 18, 1999


The Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission) announced that, on November 18, 1999, it filed a settled injunctive action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against Leszek Zbierajewski (Zbierajewski), a 25 year old resident of Chicago, Illinois, alleging that he violated the antifraud provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 in connection with the purchase and sale of securities.

The Commission's Complaint alleges that on July 8, 1999, at approximately 12:53 p.m. EDT, Zbierajewski, using the screen name "jag_98_," posted a message on a Yahoo!Finance message board that included a purported press release made through PR Newswire, Inc. (PR Newswire) announcing an $89 million strategic alliance between International, Inc. ( and America OnLine, Inc. (AOL).

The Complaint alleges that the initial posting announcing the deal was a fraud, in that Zbierajewski doctored a legitimate news release issued a few days earlier involving another company. The Complaint also alleges that Zbierajewski, again using the screen name "jag_98_," retracted the earlier posting, and that and AOL declared it a hoax.

In addition, the Complaint alleges that in the wake of Zbierajewski's 12:53 p.m. EDT false announcement the volume of trading in dramatically increased, from trading at an average of 154,000 shares per hour between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to around 1 million shares per hour between 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. The Complaint alleges that the price of rose from around $8.50 per share at 1 p.m. to $9 per share at approximately 2 p.m.

Zbierajewski settled the civil action with the Commission, agreeing to an order entering a permanent injunction prohibiting further violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, but not imposing civil penalties, which will be waived based on his demonstrated inability to pay.