News Story


Thousand Oaks Deputies Arrest Suspect for Posing as Private Investor Selling Facebook Stock Shares
9/7/2012 3:25:00 PM


Nature of Incident:

Man arrested for grand theft, theft by false pretenses, burglary, and attempted grand theft


Report Number:

12-11106 and 12-12194


100 block of N. La Brea Ave. Inglewood, California

Date & Time:

09/06/2012 @ 10:10 AM

Unit Responsible:

Thousand Oaks Police Department Patrol, Thousand Oaks Police Investigations, Thousand Oaks Police Special Enforcement Detail, Thousand Oaks Police Forgery/Fraud Unit


(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (D)ecedent

City of Residence


(S) Michael Freedman

Los Angeles, CA



On 05-17-12, a female victim reported that she met a male who identified himself as Michael Russo.  This person attempted to sell her pre-IPO Facebook shares of stock at a discounted price.  The victim's suspicions were raised and she contacted the Thousand Oaks Police Department.  Deputies from the Thousand Oaks Police Department subsequently contacted the individual named Russo.  Russo later identified himself as Michael Freedman.  Deputies found documents regarding the potential sale of the pre-IPO Facebook shares.  They also found other documents with names of other females who might be potential victims.  The documents had logos of a major financial institution and a Silicon Valley based capital venture firm that indicated that Russo/Freedman had Facebook shares to sell and a multi-million dollar trust fund available to him.  During the course of the investigation, these documents were determined to be fraudulent.  Detectives also learned that Freedman had sold these non-existent Facebook shares to another female victim for the sum of $10,000.00 on 04-06-12.

On 09-06-12, during the continuing investigation, Thousand Oaks Police Department Special Enforcement Detail Detectives arrested Freedman in the 100 block of N. La Brea Avenue in Inglewood, CA.

Freedman is currently in custody at the Ventura County Sheriff's Office Pre-Trial Detention Facility awaiting a court hearing for grand theft, theft by false pretenses, burglary, and attempted grand theft charges.

Thousand Oaks residents can protect themselves from this type of activity by verifying the person who is promoting the sales of these securities.  A legitimate salesperson will have a securities license and be registered with the California State Department of Corporations ( 


Deputy Preparing Media Release:


Detective Ilano


Media Release Date:


Follow-Up Contact:

Detective Ilano; (805) 494-8201

Approved by:

Captain Stephen Wade


Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime.  The caller may remain anonymous.  The call is not recorded.  Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).