The owner of an online social networking site pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud consumers and regulators and paying up to $20 million to settle lawsuits over his services.
In addition to paying out more than $3 million to consumers, Robert L. McInnis, of Chicago, admitted to participating in a conspiracy to deflate the price of a social network that McInnes founded in 2005.
McInnis and his wife, Linda McInns, pleaded guilty in federal court in Chicago.
Prosecutors say McInnas, 56, took advantage of a scheme to increase the prices of the social networking platform, Twitter, and other online platforms in exchange for cash payments.
McIngnis also pleaded guilty last month to making false statements to regulators.
The charges stem from a 2011 case in which the Federal Trade Commission charged McInnis with misleading consumers about the prices and services offered by Twitter and other social networks.
McIngnis, who had been a leading social networking executive for more than 20 years, was indicted on federal charges in January 2016, along with two other defendants.
McINNIS AND THE SECRETIVE TWITTER CONSPIRACYAs McInnanis and his family moved to the United States, he created his own social networking company called CowSocial.
McIens also created the social media company CowSocial in 2005, according to court documents.
McIens was indicted in October 2016 on federal fraud charges related to a scheme that he and his company ran.
He pleaded guilty on January 22, and is scheduled to be sentenced later this month.
McNINNES TO BE CHARGED IN FEDERAL FEDERATION CASEMcInns faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on the fraud charge.
In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors said McInnos and his companies paid a total of more than 2 million consumers more than a half-billion dollars.
McAsnns faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.
Mcinnis also admitted to paying up $1.6 million to a government watchdog agency, according the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago, which is investigating the fraud scheme.
The money was a portion of McInnins’ legal defense fund, prosecutors say.
McDonald’s and other companies have been cracking down on fake news on social media, and some social networks have been forced to shut down their services.
The social media sites have been accused of censoring or suppressing critical news.
McAllister’s trial is set to begin on June 17.