2015/05/14: If a fraudster puts out a ridiculously deceptive piece of information and nobody falls for it, is it still fraud?
Probably yes, but today’s attempted manipulation of Avon’s stock price by somebody who slipped a false takeover offer on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s EDGAR system raises the question of whether anybody – any human, that is – could have been dumb enough to believe it. Maybe that's the point: It was designed to fool word-scanning, dumb computer trading systems.
This was a fraud designed for algorithmic traders. It was not designed to fool anybody who’d actually read it. It was designed to fool some system that scans SEC filings for certain words but doesn’t actually read them.