Following the short holiday week, below are notable developments in SEC enforcement activity for the week of Dec. 24-28.
Insider Trading: One More Charged for IBM-SPSS Merger Scheme
The SEC has charged another broker for taking part in an insider trading scheme connected to IBM’s acquisition of SPSS. Trent Martin learned of the impending merger from an attorney friend working on the deal, who confided in Martin for “moral support, reassurance, and advice,” according to the SEC complaint. Martin allegedly purchased SPSS shares the first day he learned of the deal, then tipped his roommate, Thomas Conradt, who was charged earlier this month.
Read the SEC complaint here.…
Below are notable developments in SEC enforcement activity for the week of December 3-7, 2012.
Big Lots CEO Resigns Amidst SEC Inquiry
The CEO of Central Ohio-based Big Lots (NYSE: BIG) is under scrutiny by the SEC surrounding his sale of over $10 million in company stock prior to a negative quarterly earnings report. Big Lots stock fell 24 percent as a result of the April 2012 earnings report. Steven Fishman will retire as soon as a replacement is found, after serving as CEO since 2005.
Chinese Affiliates of Big Four Accounting Firms Charged For Refusing To Produce Documents
The SEC announced charges this week against the Chinese affiliates of the Big Four accounting firms for refusing to produce audit records for Chinese companies under investigation for violations of accounting fraud. According to the SEC’s administrative order, the four firms (as well as BDO) have refused to cooperate with the SEC investigations for months. For the Shanghai office of Deloitte & Touche, these recent charges are similar to those brought by the SEC in May and September.
See the order here.…
Below are updates on notable SEC enforcement activity from the week of November 26-30, 2012:
“White-Out” Firm Found Guilty
Jeffrey Liskov and his firm, EagleEye Asset Management, LLC were found guilty of securities fraud by a jury in Boston. The Plymouth, MA firm was found guilty of misleading investors by misrepresenting the risks associated with investments in the foreign currency exchange (“forex”) market.
The Commission alleged that Liskov and EagleEye persuaded “older” clients to shift investments from low-risk securities into high-risk forex positions based on misleading information. Despite racking up huge losses for the clients, Liskov earned over $300,000 in performance fees. Among the allegations were that Liskov used “white-out” to change names and dates on forms in order to, among other things, fraudulently transfer client assets into forex trading accounts.
After four hours of deliberation, the jury found Liskov and EagleEye liable for violations of Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act, Rule 10b-5, and the Advisers Act.
For more, read the SEC Release.
Insider Trading: Oil Company CEO Charged
Former CEO of Denver-based oil company Delta Petroleum Corporation was charged with insider trading. In the run-up to California-based investment firm Tracinda taking a 35% stake in Delta, former CEO Roger Parker tipped a close friend, who in turn tipped friends and family, according to the SEC complaint. Delta’s stock rose 20% in value once the Tracinda investment was announced. The complaint also alleges Parker provided early insights into a positive earnings report. The SEC obtained emails and phone records in connection with the alleged tipping.…