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Feds: Honolulu woman used Twitter to scam investors

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 7:20 a.m. HST, Apr 9, 2014

A Honolulu woman is facing fraud charges for posing as an investment banker and soliciting investors through social media, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Tuesday.

In one scheme, Keiko Kawamura allegedly sought investors for her self-described hedge fund and posted on Twitter some screenshots of brokerage account statements suggesting she was personally obtaining incredible investment returns that were not hers.

Kawamura spent the money on living expenses and luxury trips, the SEC said.

In another instance, Kawamura attracted investors to her subscription service for investment advice.  She told subscribers about her decade of experience and had 800 percent returns in her personal brokerage account.

The SEC said Kawamura violated Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5, and Sections 206(1), 206(2), and 206(4) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and Rule 20(4)-8. 

"As alleged in our case, Kawamura used social media to ensnare investors and raise money to support her lifestyle," said Michele Wein Layne, director of the SEC's Los Angeles Regional Office.  "Investors should beware of fraudsters who use social media to hide behind anonymity and reach many investors with little to no cost or effort."

The SEC's investigation was conducted by Brent Smyth and Finola H. Manvelian of the Los Angeles Regional Office.

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