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BCSC fines Johnston, Stock Social over on-line ads

2023-07-27 20:45 ET - Street Wire

See Street Wire (C-*BCSC) BC Securities Commission

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by Mike Caswell

The B.C. Securities Commission has imposed penalties totalling $75,000 on West Vancouver's Kyle Alexander Johnston and his company, Stock Social Inc., for disclosure failures in touting five stocks. The BCSC said that Stock Social, which relied on social media "influencers," did not properly disclose that it was sending out material as part of a paid promotion. In touting listed companies, Stock Social accepted payments totalling $63,500 (U.S.) and $454,050 (Canadian), the BCSC determined.

The penalties for Mr. Johnston and Stock Social are contained in an administrative decision that the BCSC released on Wednesday, July 26. Of the $75,000 penalty, the BCSC has ordered that Mr. Johnston pay $25,000 personally, while Stock Social must pay $50,000. The sanctions follow a one-day penalty hearing that the BCSC held on June 16, 2023, before a three-member panel.

The ruling is a loss for the BCSC's enforcement staff, which had sought sanctions totalling $539,050 (Canadian) and $63,500 (U.S.) for Mr. Johnston and Stock Social. The regulator said that he and his company should have been required to pay all of the money that they received. Failing to impose substantial penalties would "undermine the regulatory regime," enforcement staff said. They also asked that the panel ban Mr. Johnston from promotional activities for two years.

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