Redditor who sent GameStop stock to the moon is sued, accused of market manipulation


GameStop stock swung wildly after Keith Gill started hyping its prospects.

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Keith Gill goes by several names online, including Roaring Kitty on YouTube and DeepFuckingValue on Reddit. Now he’ll be adding defendant to the list. Law firm Hagens Berman filed a class action suit on Tuesday against Gill, accusing him of exaggerated claims, misrepresented posts and other similar behavior as he helped kick off a market frenzy over GameStop’s shares. At one point, enthusiasm for the stock pushed the struggling retailer’s shares up more than 2,700% from the beginning of the year. In the process, Gill was said to have netted more than $30 million.

“In order to motivate amateur traders, Gill fashioned himself as a kind of Robin Hood and characterized securities professionals as villains,” says the lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of plaintiff Christian Iovin, who participated in the drama. “Gill’s deceitful and manipulative conduct not only violated numerous industry regulations and rules, but also various securities laws by undermining the integrity of the market for GameStop shares.”

The suit is seeking punitive damages. Gill didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

See also: How to watch the GameStop stock hearing Thursday

The suit isn’t the only thing Gill’s facing this week. On Thursday, he and other people at the center of the GameStop stock drama will participate in a hearing held by the US House Committee on Financial Services. The hearing, called “Game Stopped? Who Wins and Loses When Short Sellers, Social Media, and Retail Investors Collide,” is seeking an explanation for the stock volatility. The chief executives of social network Reddit, stock trading app Robinhood, and funds Citadel and Melvin Capital are also confirmed to attend. CNET will be streaming the hearing on our YouTube channel when it begins around 9 a.m. PT/noon ET.

One question facing Congress is whether any bad behavior happened as the stock’s price swung wildly. Reddit users are accusing hedge funds and Robinhood of attempting to manipulate the stock market, shutting off trading of GameStop’s shares as they began falling from their peak of about $483.

As for Gill, in written hearing testimony posted Wednesday, he insisted he acted properly.

“I did not solicit anyone to buy or sell the stock for my own profit,” he said. “I did not belong to any groups trying to create movements in the stock price. I never had a financial relationship with any hedge fund. I had no information about GameStop except what was public. I did not know any people inside the company, and I never spoke to any insider.”

And though the company’s share price has fallen, Gill said he still believes it’s undervalued, closing his testimony with an internet meme: “In short, I like the stock.”

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