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iReport citizen journalist could face jailtime

The citizen journalist “Johntw” that falsely stated the Apple CEO Steve Jobs had been rushed to hospital after a heart attack is now under investigation of the SEC, reports Wired.

Assuming the Securities and Exchange Commission can prove the fake news writer published the post with the purpose of manipulating the stock, there would likely be criminal charges, says [attorney Scott] Vernick.

“These sorts of financial crimes or attempts to defraud investors carry criminal penalties and the possibility of imprisonment,” says Vernick.

Wired writes that in a similar case from 2000, a 23-year-old community college student was sentenced to 44 months in prison for issuing a fake press release about a company called Emulex.

LA Times reminds us that Steve Jobs’ health has been an issue before, for example when Bloomberg accidentally published Jobs obituary two months ago.

CNN reports that the false content was flagged and quickly removed from the site.

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