There is a lot of buzz around Facebook’s upcoming IPO. According to some reports, the IPO could create over a 1,000 fresh millionaires, including some highly unlikely ones like graffiti artist David Choe who reluctantly chose to receive Facebook stock in return for a paint job a few years back. That decision is expected to make him richer by as much as $200 million, and consequently a subject of envy far and wide, come Facebook IPO day. But not everyone likes to begrudge accidental millionaires like Choe their unexpected windfalls. There is no dearth of those who believe in creating their own windfall. Marianne Oleson, a 46-year-old resident of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, is one such person.
However, there appears to be one major problem with Oleson: she doesn’t seem to be too fond of hard work. In any case, she wasn’t going to let her distaste for labor get in the way of her determination to benefit from Facebook stock. To this end, she came up with a scheme to swindle people out of their hard-earned cash by selling them fake Facebook shares.
She was exposed when one of her victims became suspicious and approached the cops. Randy Stafford, a construction worker by profession, approached the cops after being hoodwinked into owning $28,000 worth of fake FB stock. According to the complaint, a cash-strapped Oleson offered to pay Stafford in Facebook stock instead of cash for some $18,000 worth of work he had performed on her home in Winnebago County. The unsuspecting construction worker fell for the offer. In fact, he ended up paying her $10,000 out of his pocket for additional shares. Oleson is alleged to have told him that she had bought $1 million worth of Facebook stock.
Five victims are named in the criminal complaint filed against 46-year-old Oleson, who is known to have a number of aliases. These people either bought the fake shares from Oleson or, like in the case of her own daughter, received them as a gift. The police haven’t ruled out the possibility of there being more victims.
She now faces dozens of felony charges in the case.