A false report of a Steve Jobs’ heart attack that caused Apple’s stock to momentarily plunge on Friday has piqued the interest of the Securities & Exchange Commission, according to reports.
Bloomberg reported Monday that the regulatory agency is looking into the heart attack rumor to see if it was posted to affect Apple’s stock price.
The rumor first appeared last week on CNN’s iReport.com, which features user-generated news reports. Apple responded swiftly on Friday
saying that the report was not true, and CNN removed the story from its site. Apple’s stock fell nearly 10 percent in the aftermath of the report before recovering later in the day.
The steep drop has raised some speculation about whether the report was posted to manipulate Apple’s stock price. Bloomberg reports that CNN is cooperating with the SEC probe.
An SEC representative contacted by Macworld said that the agency would not confirm its investigation, citing the agency’s policy.
The government has taken a hard line on stock manipulation in the past. In August 2000, connectivity manufacturer Emulex watched as its stock shed more than half its value after someone posted a fraudulent press release indicating the company was being investigated by the SEC. An FBI investigation found that the release had been sent out by a former employee of the online wire service; he was
sentenced to 44 months in prison and fined $102,642 as well as forced to forfeit any gains from the stock manipulation.