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Thursday, October 23, 2008, 04:00 pm PT (07:00 pm ET)

False story of Jobs' heart attack started with teen

The fraudulent report of Steve Jobs' heart attack that never actually happened was originated by an 18 year old with unclear motives.

A Bloomberg brief noted that the teen's fraudulent report was published by CNN's iReport website and then immediately syndicated to industry watchers by SiliconAlleyInsider blogger Henry Blodget, a former Merrill Lynch analyst who was charged with civil securities fraud by the SEC in 2003.

The false report and subsequent syndication caused Apple's stock to plummet, erasing $4.8 billion in market capitalization in an hour. The stock later rebounding somewhat after the piece was retracted. The SEC has opened an investigation into the motives behind the report, the results of which are still inconclusive.

The article, posted under the name 'Johntw,'' said Jobs was rushed to the emergency room after suffering a "major heart attack.'"

"I have an insider who tells me that paramedics were called after Steve claimed to be suffering from severe chest pains and shortness of breath,'' the invented report added. "My source has opted to remain anonymous, but he is quite reliable."

CNN said it would cooperate with the SEC probe. It describes iReport as a place for "unedited, unfiltered news" and the site says it "makes no guarantee about the content or coverage.'' The iReport site was began in August 2006 as part of CNN.com and became an independent web site in February.

Bloomberg cited Michael Missal, a former enforcement lawyer at the agency now in private practice, as saying that an SEC manipulation case would probably hinge on the writer's intentions.

Last week at the MacBook announcements, Jobs made his first public appearance since the false report, presenting a slide citing his healthy blood pressure but declining to take further questions about his health.